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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

UK coronavirus death toll rises by 504 as more than 16,000 new cases recorded


ore than 500 more people have died after testing positive from coronavirus.

However, it is less than last Friday’s death toll of 527.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 76,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The Government said that, as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 16,298 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,690,432.

It comes as an expert warned that herd immunity is not going to be possible for the foreseeable future despite the imminent rollout of a coronavirus vaccine.

Independent Sage member Professor Gabriel Scally said that while a vaccine would make a “big difference”, it is not going to be the whole solution.

The president of the epidemiology and public health section at the Royal Society of Medicine explained that a lot is unknown about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


A truck carrying the Pfizer vaccine seen leaving a factory in Belgium

/ AP )

Prof Scally explained that it was not trialled on children or pregnant women, and that we do not know the overall effectiveness of the vaccine when delivered in the population.

Some experts estimate a Covid-19 vaccine will need to be accepted by at least 55% of the population to provide herd immunity while others suggest even higher numbers will be needed.

Speaking at an Independent Sage briefing, he said: “I personally don’t think we should be talking at all about herd immunity.

“For a whole string of reasons, I think herd immunity is not going to be possible for the foreseeable future.

“I think we need to concentrate on the realistic scenario – the vaccine is great, it’s going to make a big difference but it’s not going to be the whole answer.”

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