Britain's daily Covid cases drop by 7% in a week to 5,926

Britain’s daily Covid cases drop by 7% in a week to 5,926 while deaths plunge by nearly 40% with 190 new victims

  • Infections are down 7% week-on-week, even though thousands of extra Covid tests have been carried out
  • Fatalities are still falling rapidly, thanks to the combined effect of lockdown and vaccines, scientists say
  • Department of Health figures show daily Covid deaths are down by 40 per cent on last Wednesday’s toll
  • Another 290,000 Covid vaccines were also dished out yesterday, with 22.8million Britons now vaccinated 

Britain today recorded another 5,926 coronavirus cases and 190 deaths, as the second wave continues to fade out.

Infections are down 7 per cent week-on-week — even though hundreds of thousands of extra Covid tests were carried out over the past two days because of children returning to schools. 

Fatalities are still falling rapidly, thanks to the combined effect of lockdown and vaccines. Department of Health figures show daily deaths are down by 40 per cent on last Wednesday’s toll.  

Another 290,000 Covid vaccines were also dished out yesterday, with 22.8million Britons now vaccinated. And 1.2million vulnerable adults have now had both doses. 

With the Covid metrics dramatically decreasing and the jab rollout steaming ahead, there is mounting pressure from anti-lockdown Tory MPs for an earlier easing of restrictions.

But No10’s top scientists have urged ministers to abide by the cautious roadmap back to normality, which won’t see virus-controlling measures completely dropped until June 21 at the earliest. One SAGE expert today warned Britain faced ‘very many deaths’ if restrictions were relaxed ‘too quickly’.

Boris Johnson today delivered a stark warning that coronavirus cases are starting to ‘surge’ again in Europe as he snuffed out Tory hopes of an early end to lockdown. 

The Prime Minister admitted he was under pressure to ramp up the pace of his roadmap as infections and deaths tumble, with Nicola Sturgeon revealing yesterday that she is stepping up the loosening in Scotland.

Sunny Spanish holidays could be back on for Britons within weeks as the tourism minister revealed a vaccine passport system was planned for the middle of May.

It comes after Greece announced plans to reopen to holidaymakers from mid-May and Cyprus said it would welcome fully-vaccinated Britons from May 1.

But those hoping to jet off for the Early May bank holiday are set to be barred by UK authorities because Boris Johnson has said he won’t allow overseas leisure travel until at least May 17.

Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto told a radio station on Wednesday: ‘We could be in a position to start implementing the digital passport (when the tourism fair FITUR starts on May 19).’

Under the Government’s roadmap for England, this would mean that holidaymakers could fly freely to Spain – providing they had their jabs and the country hadn’t be added to the dreaded ‘red list’ from which entry to the UK is banned over Covid variant fears.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did sound a note of caution on Wednesday, saying there was no cast iron guarantee that holidays abroad may be allowed from May 17.

In other coronavirus developments today: 

  • Researchers claimed the Kent variant — which is the dominant type of coronavirus in the UK — may be twice as deadly as original strains of the virus;
  • Sunny Spanish holidays could be back on for Britons within weeks, after the country’s tourism minister revealed a vaccine passport system was planned for the middle of May;
  • Boris Johnson slapped down the EU’s president in a fresh row over Covid jabs, insisting the UK ‘has not blocked export of a single vaccine or vaccine component’;
  • The Prime Minister also delivered a stark warning that coronavirus cases are starting to ‘surge’ again in Europe as he snuffed out Tory hopes of an early end to lockdown;
  • One of the Government’s top scientific advisers warned coronavirus will kill tens of thousands of Britons every year, just like flu;
  • Amir Khan faced questions about how he managed to jump the queue to get his coronavirus vaccination, after the 34-year-old former world champion boxer revealed on social media that he had received his jab; 
  • Public Health England published a study claiming controversial rapid tests being used on millions of children are ‘very good’, despite fears the kits may be hugely inaccurate.

The promising figures — which will inevitably be used to pile more pressure on No10 to relax restrictions sooner — come after a study today claimed the Kent coronavirus variant was deadlier than original strains of the virus.

Researchers analysed the lethality of the highly transmissible strain — the dominant type circulating in the UK which has rapidly spread across the world.

Data from around 55,000 Britons revealed the B117 variant was 64 per cent deadlier than earlier versions of the coronavirus. But scientists admitted the risk of dying may actually be twice as high for people infected with the Kent strain.

Academics calculated this equated to the disease killing 0.41 per cent of everyone it infected in the study group — or one in 250 people.

For comparison, the original Covid strain had a lethality rate of around 0.25 per cent – one in 400 people — in a separate cohort matched by age and other factors which affect the risk of dying.

Britain has now vaccinated 34.37 people per 100, while the EU nations have managed just 9.11 per 100

The PM today also delivered a stark warning that coronavirus is starting to ‘surge’ again in Europe, as he snuffed out Tory hopes of an early end to lockdown. The graph shows how infection rates have been increasing in a number of European countries recently

Boris Johnson says UK ‘has not blocked the export of a single vaccine or vaccine component’

Boris Johnson has slapped down EU president Charles Michel in a row over Covid jab exports, saying Britain has not blocked a single vaccine or component from going overseas

Boris Johnson has slapped down the EU’s president in a fresh row over Covid jabs, saying the UK ‘has not blocked export of a single vaccine or vaccine component’.

The Prime Minister spoke out after Charles Michel made the astonishing claim that the UK had ‘imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines.’

‘Let me be clear,’ Mr Johnson said at Prime Minister’s Questions today, ‘we have not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine component.’

It comes after after the EU charge d’affairs was summoned to the Foreign Office to ‘clarify’ the situation earlier today, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a rebuttal on Tuesday night.

It is just the latest in a series of increasingly bitter spats between the UK and EU over vaccines, as Britain powers ahead with one of the world’s fastest jabs programmes and Europe presides over one of the world’s slowest.

The research, carried out by academics at the universities of Exeter, Bristol, Warwick and Lancaster, was published in the British Medical Journal.

Despite the finding being worrying for the UK, scientists are adamant the current vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Pfizer will work just as intended against the strain and other troublesome variants. 

The Prime Minister today slapped down the EU’s president in a fresh row over Covid jabs, saying the UK ‘has not blocked export of a single vaccine or vaccine component’.

Mr Johnson spoke out after Charles Michel made the astonishing claim that the UK had ‘imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines.’ At Prime Minister’s Questions today, he said: ‘Let me be clear, we have not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine component.’

It comes after after the EU charge d’affairs was summoned to the Foreign Office to ‘clarify’ the situation earlier today, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a rebuttal last night.

It is just the latest in a series of increasingly bitter spats between the UK and EU over vaccines, as Britain powers ahead with one of the world’s fastest jabs programmes and Europe presides over one of the world’s slowest.

The PM today also delivered a stark warning that coronavirus is starting to ‘surge’ again in Europe, as he snuffed out Tory hopes of an early end to lockdown.

Under pressure to ramp up the pace of his roadmap as infections and deaths tumble, Mr Johnson warned it is not yet possible to ‘get back to normal’ with the levels still ‘much higher than last summer’.

‘We can see the signs of a surge of Covid among some of our European friends, and we remember how we in the UK have tended to follow that upwards curve, if a few weeks later,’ he wrote in an article for the Telegraph.

‘We know how fast this disease can take off, and that Monday’s successful return to school will inevitably add to the budget of risk.

‘The overwhelming majority of people — and businesses — would prefer us to take steps that are cautious but irreversible, rather than go backwards again. They would rather trade haste for certainty.’

The Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs has been urging the PM to move earlier, with infections and deaths plunging and the most vulnerable groups already vaccinated.

Amir Khan, 34, is quizzed by fans as he gets Covid vaccine, despite being a professional athlete

Amir Khan, 34, has been questioned after receiving his coronavirus vaccination early

Amir Khan is facing questions about how he managed to jump the queue to get his coronavirus vaccination.

The former world champion boxer, 34, revealed on Wednesday that he has received his Covid jab by posting a picture on social media.

‘Finally got my Covid vaccine. Feel fantastic #Staysafe #nhs #nhsstaff #thankyou,’ he wrote alongside a photo of him about to get his jab from a nurse.

Khan’s post led to immediate questions from fans about how he got his coronavirus vaccination early when the UK’s rollout only expanded to the over 60s at the end of February and he is a professional athlete.

MailOnline was told by Khan’s father Shah, that he was able to get the vaccine after approaching his doctor and explaining that he is visiting his mother, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

But Mr Johnson’s tough line echoes that from medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance when they appeared before MPs yesterday.

In other developments today, it was claimed that sunny Spanish holidays could be back on for Brits within weeks after the country’s tourism minister revealed a vaccine passport system was planned for the middle of May.

It comes after Greece yesterday announced plans to reopen to holidaymakers from mid-May and Cyprus said it would welcome fully-vaccinated Britons from May 1.

But those hoping to jet off for the Early May bank holiday are set to be barred by UK authorities because No10 has said overseas leisure travel won’t be allowed until at least May 17.

Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto told a radio station: ‘We could be in a position to start implementing the digital passport (when the tourism fair FITUR starts on May 19).’

Under the Government’s roadmap for England, this would mean holidaymakers could fly freely to Spain, providing they had their jabs and the country hadn’t be added to the dreaded ‘red list’ from which entry to the UK is banned over Covid variant fears.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did sound a note of caution today, saying that there was no cast iron guarantee that holidays abroad may be allowed from May 17.

One of the Government’s top scientific advisers today also warned that coronavirus will kill tens of thousands of Britons every year, just like flu.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a University College London epidemiologist and SAGE member, said vaccines would stop the UK from suffering another surge of 100,000 deaths when the virus inevitably bounces back.

But he claimed Covid — which experts fear will strike every winter — would continue to claim thousands of lives each year.

Daily Covid fatalities have plummeted since the start of 2021, with fewer than 200 new victims being recorded each day, on average. It has not been that low since the end of October, before the second wave took off.

Meanwhile, Amir Khan today questions about how he managed to jump the queue to get his coronavirus vaccination.

The former world champion boxer, 34, revealed on Wednesday that he has received his Covid jab by posting a picture on social media.

‘Finally got my Covid vaccine. Feel fantastic #Staysafe #nhs #nhsstaff #thankyou,’ he wrote alongside a photo of him about to get his jab from a nurse.

Khan’s post led to immediate questions from fans about how he got his coronavirus vaccination early when the UK’s rollout only expanded to the over 60s at the end of February and he is a professional athlete.

MailOnline was told by Khan’s father Shah, that he was able to get the vaccine after approaching his doctor and explaining that he is visiting his mother, who has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

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