The UK has recorded another 70,924 cases of Covid but it appears the country has past the worst of the Omicron wave.
New infections reported on Sunday took the week’s total to 754,054, a 38% on the previous seven days when well over a million new cases were detected. However no cases from Scotland were included due to an IT problem.
A further 88 deaths were also reported among people who tested positive for Covid within 28 days.
It means in the last week alone, there have been 1,834 deaths – the highest since last winter – but it is hoped this figure will also soon start to fall in line with the decreasing number of cases.
The daily release of figures showed 25,880 received their first dose of a vaccine on Saturday, 39,709 had a second dose and 92,623 were given their third jab.
Omicron took hold in the UK just before Christmas and rapidly spread around the country, resulting in record numbers of infections.
But experts predicted the country could follow South Africa in seeing cases fall almost as quickly as they rose, which appears to be the case currently.
London, the South East and East of England in particular are seeing the number of infections flatten.
The improving picture means the current restrictions – including mask wearing and Covid passes – could be scrapped by the end of the month, a senior Tory has said.
Oliver Dowden told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: ‘It has always been my hope that we would have the Plan B restrictions for the shortest period possible.
‘I’m under no doubt the kind of burdens this puts hospitality, wider business, schools and so on under, and I want us to get rid of those if we possibly can.
‘The signs are encouraging but, clearly, we will wait to see the data ahead of that final decision.’
Boris Johnson could reportedly make an announcement on easing restrictions within days as part of a blitz of new policies as he looks to survive the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into alleged lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street.
Labour has warned the PM not to make key public health decisions in order to ‘distract’ the population from the controversies.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘I think the sooner we can lift the final restrictions, the better. I think that’s what the whole country want.
‘So, if it’s the right thing to lift those restrictions, we will vote to lift those restrictions. But we’ll be led by the science as we always have been, not by the politics of propping up a broken Prime Minister.’
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