UK Covid cases RISE eight per cent on last week after schools return with 5,089 infections and 64 deaths
UK Covid cases today rose by 5,089 – up by eight per cent on the number of new infections recorded this time last week.
It follows the reopening of schools last Monday, which scientists feared could lead to a rise in cases.
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Last week, 4,712 infections were recorded in Britain – eight per cent fewer than the figure recorded today.
And today, 64 new deaths were confirmed – almost identical to the figure reported last Monday (65).
The latest figures mean 4,263,527 have now tested positive for coronavirus in Britain since the start of the pandemic, while 125,580 have died.
It is not clear whether the reopening of schools has caused today's slight rise in new cases.
But Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), suggested last month it would be better to bring age groups back gradually, rather than open all classrooms at once.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr at the time: “Of course there’s great needs to get our kids back in schools as fast as we can. But sticking to the epidemiology, yeah, of course, it’s always safer to take smaller steps and evaluate.”
It comes as…
- Brits can jet off to Turkey this summer without having Covid vaccine
- AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine is NOT linked to blood clots, say British scientists
- AstraZeneca vaccine suspended in Germany over blood clot fears – despite UK vow jab is safe
- Over-40s could be offered Covid jab before Easter as vaccine rollout to double pace this week
- Third wave of Covid cases will hit in Autumn warns stats chief despite hopes Brits will be able to enjoy summer holidays
- Italy plunges into another lockdown & Paris evacuates Covid patients on planes after vaccine rollout chaos
- Surge Covid tests deployed in NEW areas of London to halt spread of South African variant
Nicola Sturgeon also said today she had not ruled out the link between the recent rise in cases and the reopening of schools – which for Scotland, began on February 22.
Speaking during Scotland's Monday coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: "It is important to note that over the past seven days we have actually seen a slight increase in cases and we will be monitoring that carefully and it does provide us with a reminder that there is still no room for complacency and that our room for manoeuvre is limited.”
She added: “Can we rule out a link between schools partially reopening and a bit of an uptick in cases? No, I don’t think we can.
“And that will not be because particularly of transmission within schools but we know that when schools open there is just a little bit more movement generally as parents take children to school for example.”
In England, a further 76 fatalities were recorded, bringing the total number of Covid deaths in English hospitals to 85,310.
The patients, who died between December 11 and March 14, were aged between 47 and 102 – and all except one had underlying health conditions.
Two more deaths were reported in Wales, along with one more fatality in Northern Ireland.
Scotland did not record any new Covid deaths today.
It comes as jab rates in Britain get set to double this week after a significant boost in supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
The deputy head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said most Brits over the age of 50 will be vaccinated “in the next few weeks” while the over 40s could receive their jab next month.
Professor Anthony Harnden told BBC Breakfast that he is “very optimistic” about the roll-out’s progress.
And he hailed the programme as “tremendously successful” adding that people in the forties will be offered vaccines “before Easter”.
But despite the assurance of Britain's top scientists, there remains a growing list of countries which have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to blood clot fears.
Germany today became the 14th country to suspend the jab amid the concerns – joining the likes of Denmark, Italy and Ireland.
The Health Ministry said the decision was taken as a precaution and on the advice of Germany's national vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute.
Regulators called for further investigation of people who had suffered blood clotting in the days after their jab, according to AP.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on March 10 it would be investigating a spate of blood clotting cases in Europe.
But it later urged countries to continue vaccinating because the benefits of being protected against Covid outweigh any potential risk from the vaccine.
The UK medicine regulator – the MHRA – says the jab is safe and encourages Brits to accept their offer.
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