COVID hospitalisations have risen by 44 per cent in a fortnight as fatalities increased by 19 today.
A further 39,950 infections were recorded as all legal Covid restrictions came to an end on ‘Freedom Day’.
Cases are continuing to rise across the UKCredit: Getty
Cases are up 17 per cent on last week’s total of 33,918 – and well above the 26,829 infections reported a fortnight ago on July 5.
Deaths have dropped from the 29 recorded a week ago and also remain below the 23 reported a fortnight ago.
And a further 742 people were hospitalised in the past 24 hours – a rise on last Monday’s figure of 717, and well above the 514 recorded on July 5.
It comes as…
- Boris Johnson will hold a ‘Freedom Day‘ press conference at 5pm from isolation
- The PM has come under pressure to end the pingdemic
- Brits have continued to wear masks despite the legal mandate coming to an end
- An expert warned Britain was heading into the biggest wave of Covid infections the country had ever seen
- The Delta variant continues to spread across the country, as we reveal the biggest hotspots
In more positive developments, a further 18,186 Brits received their first dose of the vaccine yesterday. It brings the total to 46,314,039.
And 128,878 received their second dose, meaning 36,099,727 people are now fully protected.
The figures come just hours after almost all Covid restrictions were lifted as part of ‘Freedom Day’.
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Mask mandates, the work-from-home order and social distancing rules came to an end at midnight – despite a surge in cases.
Nightclubs have finally reopened after 18 months, while large-scale events are also back on.
But ministers today expressed confidence that Britain’s vaccination programme would continue to prevent hospitalisations from overwhelming the NHS this summer.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said he is “confident” that lockdown won’t return in Autumn following warnings from scientists over the weekend that restrictions could be reimposed.
Asked if he was confident that Covid measures wouldn’t return later this year, Zahawi told Sky News: “I think we are. I certainly don’t want to see restrictions returning”.
But Zahawi stressed that now was the right time to unlock – though Brits should remain “vigilant” and “careful” as they enjoy their new freedoms.
It came despite an expert warning today that Britain is on course for the largest wave of Covid infections yet in the pandemic.
Professor Andrew Hayward, from University College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises ministers said: “We are heading into the biggest wave of Covid infection that we have ever seen
“Even though the vaccine will substantially reduce the number of deaths and hospitalisations, it’s still likely that we will see somewhere in the low tens of thousands of deaths even if we are cautious.
“And that could move into the mid and high tens of thousands of deaths if we just went back to normal activity.”
He added that remaining cautious would be a “key thing” when it comes to the unlocking of legal restrictions.