UK Records Zero Covid Deaths But New Cases Are Up By 30%
The UK has reported zero deaths from Covod for the first time since the pandemic began (Alamy)
The UK has reported zero deaths from coronavirus for the first time since the pandemic began, but data also showed rising cases and hospitalisations.
New statistics released this afternoon show a further 3,165 people tested positive for coronavirus in the last day, taking the total for the past week to 24,090 – an increase of 31.7% on the previous seven days.
Data on hospitalisations from the disease have yet to be updated since last week, but were up from 133 hospital admissions to 870 as of 25 May, a weekly rise of almost 25%.
There has been only one other day since the start of the pandemic when it was recorded there had been no deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, on 30 July last year.
But that was put in the government's dataset retrospectively after they changed the way deaths were recorded, meaning today is the first time the daily coronavirus update has reported zero deaths.
A total of 65,211,877 vaccines against Covid have now been given in the UK so far, today's figures show.
Of those 39,477,158 were first doses, a rise of 93,103 on the previous day, and 25,734,719 were second doses, up by 195,546.
In response to the news health secretary Matt Hancock said "The whole country will be so glad there were no Covid related deaths recorded yesterday.
"The vaccines are clearly working - protecting you, those around you and your loved ones.
"But despite this undoubtedly good news we know we haven't beaten this virus yet, and with cases continuing to rise please remember hands, face, space and let in fresh air when indoors, and of course, make sure when you can you get both jabs."
The zero death figure may partly be down to a lag in reporting following the Bank Holiday weekend, but are likely to be used by Tory MPs to argue against delaying the fourth step on the roadmap on June 21 due to fears over the spread of the mutant Indian strain of the virus, now known as the ‘delta variant’.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), warned this morning there’s a “significant chance” the final stage of lockdown lifting will need to be delayed.
His comments came after Professor Sir Mark Walport — former chief scientific adviser to the government — said "the situation is very delicately balanced”, and Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, said the UK was at a “pivotal moment” in its fight against coronavirus.
But former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said Boris Johnson must resist “an organised push by a group of scientists to stop June 21”.
“There is no actual fact that says we shouldn’t unlock on the 21st,” he said.
“We were always told that the most important feature of all of this is to protect the most vulnerable.
“We have now double-dosed pretty near 50% of the population and that encompasses all the most vulnerable.”
Fellow Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne told PoliticsHome the scientists “have form” in this area, adding: “The disease is now endemic and we have to have a proper sense of proportion learning to live with it.
“There will be new variants from now until kingdom come, we cannot go on suppressing human interaction and economic activity as a response or we will live in fear and penury.”
The business minister Paul Scully told Times Radio that he is "cautiously optimistic" about 21 June, while speaking to the BBC environment secretary George Eustice said: “We can’t rule anything out because we know this has been a difficult pandemic, a dynamic situation.”
Fears have grown all current restrictions will not be ending this month after a sharp rise in cases, beginning with a spoke in the delta variant in the North West.
Asked about Johnson’s view on the latest data, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “I was going to point to what the PM said on Thursday.
“The prime minister has said on a number of occasions that we haven’t seen anything in the data but we will continue to look at the data, we will continue to look at the latest scientific evidence as we move through June towards 21 June.”
Johnson last spoke about this on Thursday, saying he didn’t “see anything currently in the data” that would lead to a deviation from the current roadmap.
Number 10 confirmed he returned to work today after a two-day break with his new wife Carrie Johnson after the pair were married in a surprise ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday.