COVID-19: UK records 51 more coronavirus deaths and 4,479 new cases as vaccine first doses pass 31 million

The UK has recorded 51 more coronavirus-related deaths and 4,479 new cases in the latest 24-hour period.

The figures compare with 43 fatalities and 4,052 infections announced by the government yesterday.

Last Thursday, 63 deaths were reported along with 6,397 cases.

A total of 126,764 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, and there have been 4,350,266 lab-confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 241,906 people had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine yesterday, taking the total to 31,147,444.

Some 404,922 had their second jab yesterday, meaning 4,513,458 have now had both shots.

On Wednesday, it was announced for the first time that the number of second doses administered in a single day exceeded first doses.

It comes as recent data suggests vaccine hesitancy among black people in the UK has halved.

Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures from 17 February to 14 March suggest 22% of black adults in the UK reported coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, down from 44% the previous month.

The news comes in the same week comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry penned an open letter calling on black people to take the COVID vaccine.

Also, the first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has expressed confidence in the country’s roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions, telling Sky News that COVID is in a "relatively benign position".

Cross-border travel between Wales and the rest of the UK will be allowed from 12 April.

And pubs, restaurants and cafes could reopen outdoors from 26 April.

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