COVID-19: UK reports 15 more coronavirus deaths and 2,381 new cases as second vaccine doses pass 14.5 million

The UK has reported another 15 coronavirus-deaths and 2,381 new cases in the latest 24-hour period, according to government data.

The figures compare with 22 fatalities and 2,445 infections announced on Thursday, while 40 deaths and 2,678 cases were reported last Friday.

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Since the pandemic started, a total of 127,517 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 and there have been 4,416,623 laboratory-confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, another 122,039 people had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, taking the total to 34,216,087.

And 488,914 people had their second jab, meaning 14,532,875 are now fully vaccinated.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has tweeted that "65% of adults have now been vaccinated for COVID-19, and 27.6% of adults have had two jabs".

He added: "Yesterday, the team administered 610,953 vaccines. This mammoth team effort is protecting our country from this virus, so thank you to everybody involved."

It comes as separate figures showed the number of people in England estimated to have COVID-19 has dropped by 40% in a week.

Around 54,200 people were likely to have tested positive for the virus in the week to 24 April, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which covers private households.

This is down from 90,000 the previous week, meaning about one in 1,010 people in private households in England had COVID in the week to 24 April – a fall from one in 610.

And it is the lowest figure since the week to 5 September, when the estimate stood at one in 1,400.

However, England’s R number has risen slightly to between 0.8 and 1.1, latest figures show.

This means that on average, every 10 people infected will infect between eight and 11 others.

Last week, the figure was estimated to be between 0.8 and 1 by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

And researchers are warning people who have had their first COVID vaccine to remain cautious after figures suggested one in 14 people admitted to hospital with the virus have had at least one jab.

The scientists behind the data say the majority would have been infected shortly before or soon after their first jab, before proper immunity to the disease had time to develop.

In another development, all over-40s in England are now being invited to book their first coronavirus vaccine appointment.

It is the third time this week that the vaccine booking system has been extended, after it was offered to those over 44 on Monday and to over-42s on Tuesday.

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