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UK reports record number of new Covid-19 infections as case numbers continue to surge

A total of 41,385 new cases were recorded today.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

BRITAIN HAS REPORTED a record number of new Covid-19 cases as it continues to battle a surge in infections caused by a variant strain of the disease.

Official figures released this afternoon showed there had been 41,385 new cases as of 9am today. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,329,730. 

There were also 357 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to the UK government’s coronavirus statistics portal.

The UK’s official death toll from the virus now stands at 71,109. 

Despite the record-breaking figures, the number of deaths and cases are likely to be higher as Scotland is not releasing death data between 24-28 December and Northern Ireland is not providing either case or death data over the same period.

The alarming statistics come as a scientist advising Boris Johnson’s government said the UK is unlikely to achieve herd immunity through a Covid-19 vaccination programme before the summer.

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Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as a “game changer” if it is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the coming days.

But he told BBC Breakfast: “To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer I expect.”

With reporting by PA

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Ceimin Burke

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