60,000 lives saved by Covid vaccines since vaccination rollout began

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And they said figures reveal the “remarkable impact” the vaccination programme has had in the battle against the virus. Consultant epidemiologist Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal said: “As cases have increased, the true scale of protection has become clear.

“Everyone that has come forward for their vaccine has played a part in this vital effort.”

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said last winter’s lockdowns had “completely shut out pretty much all of the other respiratory viruses” but warned a resurgence was expected.

He said: “I hope the worst is behind us, but I think it’s quite possible that we’re going to have one or two bumpy periods in the autumn and in the winter – not only through Covid, but also through flu and other respiratory viruses.”

Coronavirus cases rose for the second day with 31,117 recorded.

And a further 85 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

The highest case rates continue to be recorded in the 10 to 19 age group and the lowest are in the over-80s, according to seven-day figures.

But the highest hospital admission rates continue to be in the over-85 age group.

PHE said infection rates fell across all English regions in the last seven days.

The North East recorded the highest level at 520.9 cases per 100,000.

The East of England had the lowest at 298.7.

Despite steadying case rates, a record 689,313 Covid app users were sent alerts to isolate last week as the pingdemic continued to wreak havoc.

The figure was up by 11 percent in seven days causing staff shortages across the country.

Critical workers can skip quarantine if they have daily negative tests. But just 260 testing sites for key industries are up and running, while 800 are “in the process” of being set up and the remaining 1,200 are expected in the next few days.

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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick admitted the record number of alerts can be “frustrating” but urged people to stay at home if asked to.

A Government spokesman also said it was “fantastic” that one billion doses of Oxford/ AstraZeneca have been released to over 170 countries.

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