UK records 23 new Covid deaths and 2,472 infections

Coronavirus cases and deaths in the UK rose slightly today when another 2,472 infections and 23 deaths were confirmed by Department of Health officials.

The numbers mark increases of 3.9 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, on last Tuesday’s figures but the daily average remains significantly lower than this time last week.

Although rising numbers are might generally be bad news, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that it was ‘inevitable’ this would happen as lockdown rules get loosened. Officials are expected to take a more relaxed view of cases increasing now that half the UK population has been vaccinated against severe Covid-19.

Mr Johnson said today: ‘As we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that.’

Dr Simon Clarke, an infectious disease expert at the University of Reading, said yesterday that numbers are not ‘guaranteed to go down’ and that a rise in numbers now could be a result of socialising over the Easter weekend.

The daily update comes as a separate report counting weekly deaths, most recently in the week ending April 2, found that they plunged to their lowest level in six months following three months of lockdown.

Office for National Statistics data showed 400 death certificates that mentioned Covid were registered during that week.

This was the equivalent of the virus making up around one in 20 deaths and marked a 44 per cent drop on the week before. It was the lowest weekly toll since early October, when the second wave started to spiral out of control.

Experts warned the count was likely an ‘under-estimate’ because figures are never as reliable over bank holidays and that there is always normally a ‘bounce’ the following week.

But academics tracking the size of the outbreak insisted the numbers were still a good sign and suggested Covid deaths were heading in the right direction.

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