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Covid cases plunge as 158 new fatalities are recorded

Tammy Hughes and April Roach
·2-min read
<p>Ambulances at the Royal London Hospital in London</p> (PA)

Ambulances at the Royal London Hospital in London

(PA)

Covid-related deaths were down 34 per cent this week with 158 new deaths recorded on Saturday.

It brings the total coronavirus death toll in the UK to 124,419.

The daily figure was down from 290 coronavirus deaths that were recorded last Saturday.

According to the latest Government data, a further 6,040 Covid-19 cases were recorded, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 4,213,343.

It comes as the first major easing of England’s third lockdown is set to take place on Monday with the return of pupils to school.

An infectious disease expert said on Saturday that the “next few weeks are going to be crucial” for keeping coronavirus infections down as schools reopen.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Government’s SPI-M modelling advisory panel, told Times Radio that children going back to classrooms would cause a rise in the reproductive number – or R value – of the virus while more vaccinations would cause it to reduce.

He said: “We do need to get this balancing act correct and we need to open up at the rate of vaccinations and keep the R number in check, as it were.

“Definitely things are moving in the right direction but the next few weeks are going to be crucial for us to monitor what happens when schools open.

“Hopefully we can keep everything down and most importantly we can prevent seeing a rise in hospitalisations.”

Meanwhile Government data up to March 5 shows that of the 22,887,118 jabs given in the UK so far, 21,796,278 were first doses – a rise of 437,463 on the previous day.

Some 1,090,840 were second doses, an increase of 56,772.

According to the latest provisional NHS England data, total of 2,333,627 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and March 5, including 2,229,397 first doses and 104,230 second doses.

This compares with 3,603,903 first doses and 134,215 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 3,738,118.

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