Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: UK infections, deaths continue decline

Decrease in infections follows announcement that all people over age 50 will receive jab by spring

Muhammad Mussa   | 06.02.2021
COVID-19: UK infections, deaths continue decline

LONDON 

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the UK, as well as deaths linked to the disease, continued to drop Saturday as more people got vaccinated.

The number of total cases rose to 3,929,835 after 18,262 people in the country testing positive for the virus over the past day, according to official figures released online.

Amounting to 133,747 infections, the seven-day total case rise fell by 25.1% compared to the previous week.

Meanwhile, 828 people died on Saturday within 28 days of being diagnosed COVID-19 positive, while 6,521 people succumbed to the virus since Jan. 31 in a 20.9% weekly decrease.

The number of total fatalities stands at 112,660.

Testing efforts continued to rise since Jan. 29, with 4,511,079 administered as of Feb. 4, marking a 7.6% increase compared to the previous seven days.

Vaccinations

The UK reached a milestone Wednesday when over 10 million people received their first vaccine dose against COVID-19, bringing the country to 3rd place with over 15% of its population vaccinated.

By the end of Feb. 5, the number of people that got their first dose was 11,465,210, while 510,057 had been fully protected against the virus after receiving their second dose.

The country's latest R range -- the number of people a single infected individual passes the virus onto -- changed from 0.7-1.1 to 0.7-1. The rate of change also decreased and stands at minus 5% to minus 2% per day.

On Saturday, the COVID-19 vaccination task force said that the government would meet its target of inoculating all people over 50 years old by the end of May.

"I'm very optimistic we'll definitely meet the May target. Every time we've been set an objective on the task force, we've met it, and we'll work day and night to ensure we meet whatever target that's feasible." Dr. Clive Dix said on BBC Radio 4.

Dix, who heads the task force, said UK scientists are also at the vanguard of efforts to upgrade vaccines in order to target the various new strains being discovered across the world.

"The UK is probably at the forefront of surveying these variants. We have actually sequenced nearly 50% of all the viruses that have been sequenced in this pandemic at the Sanger center in Cambridge" Dix said.

A surge in testing has also begun in areas where the South African mutation of the virus was detected earlier this week, with authorities urging people to stay home.

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