COVID-19: UK records another 2,284 coronavirus cases and 11 related deaths

The UK has recorded a further 2,284 coronavirus cases and 11 related deaths, according to the latest government data.

The numbers are down slightly on the 2,474 daily cases and 20 deaths reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a total of 35,722,461 people have now received a first dose of a COVID-10 vaccine – up from the total of 35,587,348 recorded on Tuesday.

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And 18,438,532 people have now had two vaccine doses – up from the total figure of 18,088,385 recorded on Tuesday.

It comes as NHS sources told the PA news agency that all those aged 38 and 39 will be able to book their COVID-19 vaccinations from tomorrow morning in England.

Meanwhile, a report issued by an independent panel into the handling of the pandemic found that the World Health Organization (WHO) should have declared a global emergency earlier than 30 January 2020 and recommended travel restrictions to prevent the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also found that the pandemic was a preventable disaster that could have saved 3.4 million lives.

Elsewhere, the prime minister announced that an independent public inquiry into the UK government’s handling of the pandemic will begin in the spring of next year.

Boris Johnson revealed the news in a COVID-19 statement to MPs on Wednesday, telling the Commons it will be able to take oral evidence under oath and put "the state’s actions under the microscope".

More than 127,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began last year, while more than 150,000 deaths have mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate.

The prime minister said that "amid such tragedy the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible" and "learn every lesson for the future".

Given the potential threat of new COVID-19 variants and the possibility of a winter surge, Mr Johnson said he expected the "right moment" for the inquiry to begin is spring 2022.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News that local restrictions cannot be ruled out in areas where there has been a sharp rise in cases.

From 17 May, England will move in to stage three in the latest easing of restrictions.

People will able to enjoy a pint or meal indoors, hug loved ones and return to cinemas, after the prime minister confirmed the next stage of lockdown easing on Monday.

It comes as the UK’s coronavirus alert level was lowered from four to three, meaning the virus is in "general circulation" but that transmission is not "high or rising".

Mr Johnson also confirmed that the work from home advice will be lifted after 21 June, provided the country remains on track in the fight against COVID-19.

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