politics

Covid cases fall for SEVENTH day in a row as top minister says Britain HAS reached herd immunity


CORONAVIRUS cases fell for the seventh day in a row amid growing hope the third wave of the virus is finally in retreat.

It comes as a senior minister said tonight that the UK has reached herd immunity.

Covid cases fell for the seventh day in a row amid growing hope the third wave of the virus is finally in retreat

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Covid cases fell for the seventh day in a row amid growing hope the third wave of the virus is finally in retreatCredit: LNP
The UK's Covid infection rate has fallen for the last seven days

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The UK’s Covid infection rate has fallen for the last seven days

Herd immunity refers to where enough people in a population have immunity to infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.

Despite Boris Johnson calling for calm and warning against “running away” with “premature conclusions”, one senior minister revealed that the nation is on the road to recovery.

The minister said that the UK’s successful vaccination programme along with the 5.72million Covid infections that the virus would struggle to spread across the population.

Speaking to the Mail Online, the Government official said: “It is all over bar the shouting, but no one has noticed.

“Of course, we have to guard against the emergence of some terrible new variant.

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“But otherwise Covid is on the point of becoming something you live with.

“It drops into the background, but it does not change anything terribly – maybe you have to take a test once in a while.”

There were just 23,511 cases reported today — half the nearly 47,000 reported a week ago — despite Tuesdays often seeing spikes in numbers because of the weekend lag in reporting.

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Deaths jumped to 131, the highest daily total since March, but the figure is nowhere near the levels seen in previous waves as vaccines continue to blunt Covid’s power.

“Professor Lockdown” Neil Ferguson — who just days ago predicted there could soon be 200,000 cases a day — declared the crisis would be over by the autumn.

The government adviser and virus expert at Imperial College London said he was positive the worst of the pandemic would be over within months.

He said: “The effect of vaccines has been huge in reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death and I’m positive that, by late September-October time, we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.

“We’ll still have Covid with us, we’ll still have people dying from Covid, but we’ll put the bulk of the pandemic behind us.”

He said the spike in July, which saw infections rise to 55,000 in a day, could have been caused by Euros football parties.

It might have dropped because people went out in sunny weather and schools started to close.

He added: “I think we’ll see a clear plateau emerge later this week. The real issue is will that turn into a long-term decline . . . or will we see a resurgence of hospitalisations and deaths as we go later into summer and autumn?”

His concern was echoed by the PM who told reporters in Surrey that people must still take care.

He said: “Step 4 of the opening up only took place a few days ago. People have got to remain very cautious. That remains the Government’s approach.”

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There is a concern in Whitehall that the seven-day drop may reflect the fading effect of indoor mixing to watch the Euros and that the virus could still be spreading.

One source said: “We need more data to know if this is just the football spike normalising, or things really are in retreat.”

On the rising deaths, Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said rates were still high.

She said: “The pandemic is not over yet . . . we are still in the third wave.”

She said yesterday’s figure reflected, in part, the high number of cases recorded in recent weeks.

She said: “We know deaths follow when there are a high number of cases.”

Meanwhile, the Test and Trace “pingdemic” continued to blight workplaces.

Mr Johnson repeated that the double jabbed will be able to swerve isolation by mid-August after ministers publicly cast doubt on that date.

He said: “I know that people have been frustrated about the pinging and the self-isolation . . .  particularly now as we’re starting to see some better figures.

“But I think everybody understands that this is still a very dangerous disease. We do need to use the tools that we have.

Self-isolation is the one that we’ve got. But don’t forget, folks, that we’re ­coming forward with the new system from August 16.

Deaths jumped to 131, the highest daily total since March, but the figure is nowhere near the levels seen in previous waves as vaccines continue to blunt Covid’s power

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Deaths jumped to 131, the highest daily total since March, but the figure is nowhere near the levels seen in previous waves as vaccines continue to blunt Covid’s powerCredit: PA
So far 46.65million Brits have had their first vaccination
So far 46.65million Brits have had their first vaccination

“We’ll come forward with the test-to-release approach then.”

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Earlier, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said the government would have to wait and “see what’s happening on the numbers” before confirming the relaxation.

He said: “Let’s all hope the numbers go well. People will be assessing in the week before what the numbers look like and then taking a decision nearer the time.”

Daily Covid deaths rise to 131 – the highest since March – but cases fall for SEVENTH day in a row





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