The UK’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has hit exactly 130,000 after another 119 deaths were reported today.
It’s the second time this week that deaths connected to the virus have reached three figures, after the 138 seen yesterday.
It means 570 deaths have come in the last week, a 14.5% rise on the previous seven days.
Meanwhile, hopeful signs that the pandemic was in retreat have begun to disappear, with another 29,312 cases recorded in the latest 24 hour period.
This is higher than the 27,734 seen last Wednesday and more than yesterday’s figure of 21,691.
Infections had been in steep decline week-on-week since a high of 54,674 on July 17.
But there are signs the rate of decrease is slowing. Today’s fall represents a 13.7% drop, compared to declines of 30-40% last week.
The latest figures show 668 people were admitted to hospital with Covid on July 31. This means 5,847 people were admitted in the last seven days, a 4.9% decrease on the week before.
Some 29,508 more people have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine and 143,002 have had their second.
It’s now been more than two weeks since the UK’s ‘freedom day’, when all lockdown restrictions ended, and the latest increase in cases is likely to be tied to the rise in people mixing freely.
It comes as the government confirmed plans to offer vaccinations to all 16 and 17 year-olds in the coming weeks.
They will be allowed to consent to getting immunised, even if they don’t have parents’ permission, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirmed this afternoon.
It will be confirmed later whether children in these age groups will be offered a second jab.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, said: ‘While Covid-19 is typically mild or asymptomatic in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and for this particular age group, we expect one dose of the vaccine to provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.’
The latest move comes despite a study showing that children are highly unlikely to suffer long term health impacts if they catch Covid.
The work by academics at King’s College London found only 2% of those who developed symptoms reported still being ill eight weeks later.
This compares to one in 20 adults who were ill with Covid for eight weeks or longer.
Meanwhile, the Government is preparing to announce its latest changes to the travel list system, with some European countries likely to move from amber status to green.
The change would free up travel to those destinations for all, regardless of vaccination status, as only those who are double-jabbed can visit amber countries without needing to quarantine.
The latest reports say the status of Spain, which appeared likely to move to the red list, won’t change.
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