UK Covid deaths fall by 11% in a week with 1,200 fatalities and 23,275 cases in last 24 hours

COVID deaths in the UK have fallen 11 per cent in a week – with 1,200 fatalities in the past 24 hours.

Infections also plunged 30 per cent compared to last Saturday as 23,275 cases were recorded.

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Department for Health figures released today showed 3,796,088 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus.

This time last week, 33,552 more people tested positive – and 1,348 casualties died.

However, in positive signs the country is turning a corner, new hospital admissions on Wednesday – the latest data available – are down 25 per cent on the previous Wednesday.

Today marks a year since the first known Covid death was recorded in the country – and Britain has faced the deadliest month of the pandemic so far.

During the April peak, the highest daily death toll recorded was 1,010.

But that tragic figure has been exceeded on 19 days this month – and this week, the UK hit a bleak milestone as more than 100,000 deaths were recorded in total.

In the past 24 hours, health officials have recorded a further 681 deaths in hospitals in England.

Patients were aged between 18 and 101, and 23 of the casualties, who were aged between 47 and 92, had no known underlying health conditions.

The majority of deaths – 155 – were recorded in the south-east, with 136 fatalities in London, 134 in the Midlands, 93 in the east, and 88 in the north-west.

A further 57 lives were lost in the north-east and Yorkshire, while 18 more people died in the south-west.

In Scotland, 994 new cases and 60 further deaths have been recorded, while in Wales, 737 further positive tests and 25 more fatalities were reported.

It comes as:

  • The UK's deadliest Covid region – where deaths are twice the average – is revealed
  • Boris Johnson reportedly wants to relax strict rules on exercise – although shops, gyms and pubs will remain shut for months to come
  • The EU is slammed for a 'Trumpian' plan to block jabs from entering the UK
  • An Asda shopper was pinned to the ground and handcuffed after 'moving down his mask to clear his foggy glasses'
  • Influencers mock the Dubai travel ban – joking that it's "such a shame" they're stuck in the sun

Meanwhile, it's feared the Covid toll may hit 220,000 before the crisis is over.

New official estimates show 161,000 Brits could have died by the end of next month, including 120,000 struck down directly by the bug.

The other deaths are likely to come from delayed cancer treatment and mental health problems caused as a result of strict lockdowns, it's claimed.

Experts have offered various estimates as to how many more deaths can be expected.

Sage academic Professor Calum Semple said: "It would really not surprise me if we're looking at another 40,000 or 50,000 deaths before this burns out."

And epidemiologist Dr Adam Kucharshki said 30,000 more Brits will die within the next month.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Whitty has refused to be drawn on how many more deaths can be expected – but warned: "We are going to see quite a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccine are going to be felt, and we have to be realistic about that."

And while new cases of the virus are finally dropping dramatically, officials have warned the lockdown is set to continue for months more.

It's believed non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers won't reopen until April, while pubs could remain closed until May.

Boris Johnson has asked ministers to draft plans to relax currently strict rules on exercise after extending the shutdown until at least March 8.

Mr Johnson announced this week that he'll make a 'road map' out of restrictions public on February 22.

The plan will depend on "the continued success of the vaccination program," as well as the "capacity of the NHS" and the rate at which people are dying from coronavirus in the UK.

The PM admitted that getting kids back to class was tied to the national restrictions – and children will not be going back after February half-term as initially hoped.

And he said youngsters would continue to learn remotely for weeks to come – as there's not yet enough data to decide when to lift the lockdown measures.

But there's hope on the horizon that the end may finally be in sight.

The latest Government figures suggest the growth rate, which estimates how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, is between minus 5 per cent and zero for the UK as a whole.

It means the number of new infections in the UK is broadly flat or shrinking by up to 5 per cent every day.

Sage said this week said the estimates are based on the latest data, available up to January 25, including hospital admissions and deaths as well as symptomatic testing and prevalence studies.

Meanwhile, a top expert says vaccinations are already beginning to stem the tide of new cases.

As of today, 8.38million Brits have received at least one vaccine – including 57 per cent of the first four priority groups.

Infection rates in the over-80s have fallen by 36 per cent this month. Other age groups have seen similar falls.

The biggest drop was recorded in people in their 20s. Rates in that age group have halved.

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