The UK reported 35,707 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, health authorities said on Friday, the highest single-day number since Jan. 22.
Friday’s data brings the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to over 5 million.
There were also a further 29 fatalities, raising the death toll to 128,365. Regarding vaccinations, over 45.6 million people in the UK, 86.8%, have received their first dose, and over 34.3 million, 65.3%, are fully vaccinated.
England’s R number has also risen to between 1.2 and 1.5, up from between 1.1 and 1.3 last week. The R number shows on average how many people an infected person goes on to infect; an R number of 1.2 means that every 10 people infected go on to infect 12 others. R numbers below 1.0 mean the virus will eventually stop spreading through a population, those above 1.0 mean it will spread exponentially.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – the UK’s national statistics agency – released data on the infection rates in the UK’s four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
In England, the ONS reported that in the week to July 3, one in 160 people had COVID-19, the highest since February. In Wales, the number is one in 340, also the highest since February, and in Northern Ireland one in 300, the highest since April.
Scotland has the highest infection rate of all four nations, with the figure being one in 100, the highest since January.
The increase in infections across the UK is being driven by the Delta variant, first identified in India. The speed of Britain’s vaccination program is, for now, holding down deaths.
The British government has signaled that on July 19, it will scrap in England rules on face masks and social distancing, as well as end restrictions on hospitality and working from home.
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