Strain AY.4.2 of the Delta variant now accounts for around 12 percent of cases in the UK, and is thought to be 15 percent more infectious than other strains. New figures from the Office for National Statistics show a total of 1,020 deaths of patients with Covid were registered in England and Wales in the week ending November 12.
The data marks the first time the weekly total has passed 1,000 in eight months.
The news comes as the Government advise Britons to take a lateral flow test before going to crowded places like Christmas shopping.
Ministers believe the UK is in a better position than countries such as Germany and Austria because of the relatively high take up of the vaccine, and the booster, which has now been rolled out to people aged 40 and over.
Austria entered a national lockdown on Monday, after having imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated people only.
Only 65 percent of Austrians have been double jabbed, a rate that Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said is “shamefully low”, compared to the UK’s 80 percent.
The head of the Oxford jab programme declared that coronavirus is no longer a disease of the vaccinated, as nearly all patients in ICU are unvaccinated.
READ MORE: ‘It’s a free country!’ Britons rage against lockdowns for unvaccinated
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard wrote in The Guardian: “Among the general public, the pandemic is still regarded as a silent pestilence, made visible in the images of patients fighting for their next breath… This ongoing horror, which is taking place across ICUs in Britain, is now largely restricted to unvaccinated people.”
He added: “Generally, COVID-19 is no longer a disease of the vaccinated; vaccines tend to limit its suffocating affliction, with a few exceptions.”
Sir Andrew said most people who are double-jabbed will experience only “mild infections” that are “little more than an unpleasant inconvenience”.
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On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he did not see a need to implement the Government’s “Plan B” set of restrictions.
An official document sent out by the UK Health Security Agency to town hall leaders and directors of public health in late October said Plan B would inform the public “clearly and urgently” to “behave more cautiously”.
Plan B measures could include introducing vaccine passports in nightclubs, crowded indoor settings, and outdoor venues with more than 10,000 attendees.
It could also bring in “legally mandating face coverings in certain settings” and advice people to work from home.
Which restrictions would you support? Have your say in the comments below.
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the European region remains in the firm grip of the pandemic, as the reported number of Covid deaths has now passed 1.5 million for the 53 countries in this region.
The WHO said that Europe’s Covid deaths are projected to reach over 2.2 million by spring next year, and that 49 countries will see high or extreme stress on intensive care units between now and March 2022.
Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said: “All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life, and limit further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season.”
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