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Britain records 2,144 Covid cases and 27 deaths as both measures continue to fall

Britain recorded another 2,144 Covid cases and 27 deaths today as both measures continued to point downward — while two thirds of adults have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Department of Health data showed infections had dipped one per cent compared to the same time last week, and fatalities were down by two or 6.9 per cent.

Covid deaths rose compared to the two previous days when they were in single figures, but experts said this was expected because more fatalities from the bank holiday weekend had now been registered. 

More than 34.7million Britons have now received their first dose of the vaccine – or 66 per cent of over-18s – while 15.8million have got their second shots.

It comes after figures revealed more people are now dying from flu and pneumonia than Covid in England and Wales for the first time since the second wave took off last year.

Office for National Statistics data showed the virus was mentioned on 260 death certificates that occurred in the week ending April 23 — down 30 per cent on the week before. 

But Covid was only listed as the underlying cause for 176 of the victims. For comparison, flu and pneumonia was behind 278 deaths in the same seven-day spell but mentioned on 1,203 certificates. 

The promising figures will inevitably pile more pressure on Boris Johnson to speed-up his ultra-cautious lockdown exit strategy, which will not permit holidays or pubs and restaurants to serve indoors until May 17. Restrictions will remain in place until June 21, at the earliest.

Scientists are already predicting the successful vaccine roll-out — which has already jabbed 34million Britons —may mean the country never needs another blanket lockdown. 

It comes amid fury over Champions League final plans that could ‘make a mockery’ of Britain’s lockdown efforts should 8,000 Man City and Chelsea fans travel to Covid hotspot Turkey.

FURY OVER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLANS THAT COULD SEE 8,000 TRAVEL TO COVID HOTSPOT TURKEY

Up to 8,000 British football fans could get tickets for the Champions League final in Turkey this month as UEFA draws up plans to host the match in front of a stadium of thousands despite the country’s Covid outbreak.

Manchester City and their opponents in the final will receive up to 4,000 tickets each for fans to attend the match in Turkey – and the second finalists could be Chelsea if they win tonight.

Football chiefs and Turkish authorities are believed to be drawing up plans to accommodate 25,000 spectators at the Ataturk Stadium for the match on May 29. If they are approved, the stadium in Istanbul will host a third of its 76,000-capacity.

Turkey's rate of coronavirus cases is around 12 times higher than Britain's and double the European average

Turkey’s rate of coronavirus cases is around 12 times higher than Britain’s and double the European average

But staging the game will make a ‘mockery’ of Britain’s efforts to stamp out Covid, according to an MP and public health experts, who say English fans shouldn’t be allowed to attend.

Turkey currently has a coronavirus infection rate 12 times higher than Britain’s, with 370 new cases per million people announced yesterday, compared to 30. There were 31,200 more positive tests confirmed on Tuesday alongside just 2,000 in the UK.

Clive Efford, MP for Eltham in Greenwich, South East London, said: ‘It is a risk not worth taking at this stage.’

Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, told MailOnline that if Chelsea make it through the match should be moved to Britain. He said: ‘I know it would be a blow for Istanbul but… it would certainly be safer from a Covid point of view.’

City eased their way to their first Champions League final with a stunning 2-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium, last night, to go with their 2-1 win in France.

Chelsea will play Spanish giants Real Madrid tonight in hope of clinching the other place in the final – they drew 1-1 in Madrid in the first leg.

At least 4,000 Brits will be given the chance to travel with City if the plans are given the green light, and the UK contingent could be upped to 8,000 if Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge tonight.

In other coronavirus developments: 

  • The entire Indian delegation that travelled to London for the G7 summit must self-isolate after two Covid cases were detected;
  • Top SAGE adviser Professor Neil Ferguson said it was unlikely the UK will have to lock down again because the vaccine rollout is going so well;
  • One in five adults experienced some form of depression at the start of 2021 — double what was recorded before the pandemic;
  • Holidaymakers are to be given Covid screening packs to use abroad as the Foreign Office hints at its ‘green list’… but travellers will still have to pay £50 for gold-standard swabs;
  • India accounted for nearly half of Covid cases globally and one in four deaths over the last week. 

Doctors list a disease such as Covid as the underlying cause of death when they consider it to be to blame for someone dying.

They can, however, also mention other conditions as contributors, meaning they were not the main cause but played a role.

Professor Lawrence Young, a molecular biologist at Warwick Medical School, said flu and pneumonia were now behind more deaths than Covid because of vaccinations and lockdown easing measures.

‘There is no question that the vaccine roll-out is driving down Covid deaths,’ he told MailOnline.

‘What we are seeing is that vaccination is clearly biting now and having a massive impact not only on the level of the disease but also on the spread.’

He added: ‘I think (the rise in deaths due to flu) is a consequence of as you ease lockdown restrictions, you are going to see more mixing and more virus spread.

‘We have all been living in isolation over the winter. Often, what happens with these infections is they travel around through the year in new forms and boost our immunity against them.

‘But in a year without mixing this hasn’t been the case – a load of us have not had colds we would normally get.

‘As a result, some people are more vulnerable to infections but have not had that boost you get from infection every year may be more at risk.’

Studies suggest the Covid jabs roll-out may be arresting the spread of the virus even as lockdown measures are eased because more than three in five Britons have been jabbed and they are highly effective (at least 70 per cent) at blocking infections.

On the other hand, a mass roll-out was also carried out for flu vaccines. But these are generally less effective at blocking infections with the common virus (possibly as low as 30 to 40 per cent), giving it a window to resurge once people start mixing more regularly.

ONS figures showed Covid only made up 2.6 per cent of all fatalities recorded in England and Wales two weeks ago, compared to more than 40 per cent at the peak of the second wave.

Three out of nine regions in England — North East, East Midlands and the South West — went at least one day without a single Covid fatality occurring over the latest week.

And eight out of nine went at least one day with just one Covid death occurring, with only the West Midlands not hitting this level.

There were 9,941 deaths from all-causes — including dementia, heart disease and Covid — which was 5.3 per cent below the five-year average, or 556 fewer deaths, for the number of deaths expected at this time of year.

Experts had said all deaths were likely to fall below average for some time because more people had died earlier than they otherwise would have without the spread of the virus.

There were also 26 deaths involving Covid among care home residents, almost half the 44 recorded in the previous seven-day period.

Amid the promising figures Mr Johnson is yet to budge on his lockdown easing strategy, despite insisting he will be led by ‘data not dates’.


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