COVID cases in UK fall for seventh day in a row – but number of new deaths highest since mid-March


The UK has recorded 23,511 new COVID-19 cases and 131 more deaths in the latest 24-hour period, according to government data.

It is the seventh day in a row that the number of infections has fallen.

But it is the highest number of daily deaths since 17 March, when 141 fatalities were reported.

Today’s figures compare with 24,950 infections and 14 deaths reported yesterday, while 46,558 cases and 96 deaths were announced this time last week.

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Also, 64,585 people had their first dose of a COVID vaccine yesterday, taking the total to 46,653,796.

And a further 171,676 people had their second jab, meaning 37,459,060 are now fully vaccinated.

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The latest data has shown that England and Wales recorded the highest number of weekly coronavirus-related deaths since April.

There were 218 deaths with coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate in the week to 16 July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – the third consecutive weekly rise and a 19% increase on the previous seven days.

Speaking to reporters earlier, Boris Johnson acknowledged the falling case numbers over the past week.

He said: “I’ve noticed that, obviously, we are six days into some better figures.

“But it is very, very important that we don’t allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about this.

“Step 4 of the opening up only took place a few days ago; people have got to remain very cautious and that remains of the approach of the government.”

Earlier, policing minister Kit Malthouse told Sky News he thought the falling cases was an “interesting cocktail of effects” – and it seems to be a common theory in government that a number of factors are contributing to the decrease.

SAGE member Professor Mark Walport admitted “everyone’s scratching their heads a little bit as to exactly what the explanation is”, while other scientists have urged caution.

And Dr Duncan Robertson, an expert in COVID-19 modelling and analysis, said we should be looking at the positivity rate (or percentage of tests coming back positive) – which remains “very high” and could indicate not enough testing is being carried out.

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