LONDON

All adults in the UK have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, reaching the target ahead of schedule, as well just hours before Monday’s controversial “freedom day,” on which nearly all coronavirus restrictions will be dropped.

According to statistics published by the Department of Health and Social Care on Sunday, more than 46.2 million people have now had a first dose of the vaccine, amounting to 87.8% of the population, while 35.7 million – 67.8% – have gotten a second dose.

The government had originally declared Monday, July 19 as the date by which all adults should have been inoculated with at least one shot of the vaccine. The target, however, has been reached a day early, which could allow for children to next receive the jab.

“Every adult in the UK has now been offered a COVID-19 vaccine – a brilliant achievement. As we start to cautiously ease restrictions, I implore every adult, no matter your age, background, or job, to get your vaccine as soon as possible,” vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Twitter.

The children will follow?

As adults have been offered one dose of the vaccine, children under 18 are now next in line to receive the jab. It is unclear, however, what timeline the government has set for all young people to have received the first shot, and there is uncertainty as to whether those with underlying health conditions should receive one.

Coronavirus cases are currently surging across the UK, in the main part due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and also the country’s reopening. On Friday, infections passed the 50,000 mark – the highest since this January, when the UK was in the grip of a third wave and national lockdown.

England is set to drop the majority of its coronavirus restrictions at the stroke of midnight, making it the most unrestricted country in Europe.

As part of its exit out of the remaining restrictions, the two-meter distancing rule has been ditched, masks will no longer be required except on public transport, and entertainment venues will reopen their doors.

On Sunday 48,161 people tested positive for the virus, and on July 12-18, 316,691 people had a confirmed positive test result. This is an increase of 43.3% compared to the previous week’s data.

Twenty-five deaths were reported on July 18. On July 12-18, the UK reported 283 deaths – up 39.4% compared to the previous seven days.

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