COVID-19: UK records 29 more coronavirus deaths as nearly 34 million have had their first jab

The UK has recorded another 29 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,166 new cases in the latest 24-hour period, according to government data.

The figures compare with 17 deaths and 2,685 infections announced on Tuesday, while 22 fatalities and 2,396 cases were revealed last Wednesday.

Since the pandemic started, a total of 127,480 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, and there have been 4,411,797 laboratory-confirmed infections.

First doses of a coronavirus vaccine have now reached 33,959,908 while second doses are at 13,581,076.

It comes as separate figures suggest almost 70% of the adult population in England now have COVID antibodies.

An estimated seven in 10 adults (68.3%) in private households were likely to have tested positive for the antibodies in the week to 11 April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest estimate is up from one in two, or 53.1%, two weeks earlier.

The presence of COVID antibodies suggests someone has had the infection or has been vaccinated.

However, people who have received two doses of a vaccine are being told to keep up social distancing partly due to British culture, said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE).

This contrasts with the US, which is allowing fully vaccinated people to meet indoors without the need for social distancing.

Dr Ramsay told MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee that the UK’s policy of leaving up to 12 weeks between vaccine doses – a move she said has saved lives – means the country is behind America when it comes to fully vaccinated individuals.

"I think they (US) are able to be less cautious, perhaps, than us because of the fact that more people have had two doses, which one would expect to get even better protection against transmission," she said.

"I think the other thing is we have a slightly different cultural perspective in this country in that we tend to do everything together.

"We are trying to say that this is about the population as a whole rather than the individuals, those privileged individuals who have had two doses, being somehow able to do things that other people cannot."

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