UK Covid deaths fall 33% in a week with 454 fatalities and 12,057 cases in 24 hours as Boris Johnson finalises roadmap

UK Covid deaths today rose by 454 – a 33 per cent drop on the figure recorded this time last week.

Another 12,057 infections were recorded, meaning 4,083,242 have now tested positive for the bug in Britain since the start of the pandemic.

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Today's rise in deaths is smaller than it was last Thursday, when 678 more fatalities were confirmed.

Fewer new infections were also reported today than last Thursday (13,494).

The latest figures mean a total of 119,387 have now died from coronavirus in the UK since the start of the pandemic.

It comes as…

  • Covid cases close to levels seen BEFORE second wave – as 99% of areas see rates fall
  • New ‘Finnish’ mutant Covid strain discovered that might not show up in tests fuelling its spread, experts warn
  • Covid surge testing rolled out to ANOTHER area after South Africa variant found
  • Northern Ireland extends lockdown until EASTER with staggered schools return as Boris Johnson finalises roadmap
  • Areas could be plunged into postcode lockdowns to stop mutant Covid strains as restrictions eased

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to sift through a dossier of data to help him decide the speed of his "Roadmap to Recovery" blueprint.

The PM will use the numbers to shape his official plan to ease lockdown, to be published on Monday.

Mr Johnson yesterday vowed to be driven by data not dates in his “cautious and prudent” lifting of Covid restrictions, starting on March 8 with reopening schools.

But The Sun understands the document will also mention other specific dates as the earliest possible opportunity for shops and pubs to reopen if cases continue to fall and vaccinations lead to a decline in deaths.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has agreed to extend its lockdown until Easter and will stagger the reopening of schools.

The Stormont executive today agreed to prolong the country's current lockdown to April 1, with a review of the measures expected on March 18.

Primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 will return to face-to-face learning on March 8.

And on March 22, secondary pupils in key exam years – year groups 12 to 14 – will return to school.

'MUST LEARN FROM MISTAKES'

Sadiq Khan has urged similar caution for England, demanding that Boris ignores the pleas of business chiefs and Tory MPs to swiftly end restrictions.

The Mayor of Londoninsisted that he is "as impatient as the next person" to end the curbs but that No 10 must "learn the lessons of the mistakes made in the past".

He also warned the number of people in hospital, which is six times higher than when the last lockdown was eased in June, shows now is not the time to drop restrictions too quickly.

As of February 16, there were 20,156 patients in UK hospitals with coronavirus.

But new data has provided England with a glimmer of hope – showing Covid cases are back to levels seen before the second wave of the pandemic.

Figures published by Public Health England (PHE) today also revealed that 99 per cent of areas have witnessed a drop in infections.

Data from NHS Test and Trace show that there has been a 29 per cent drop in positive Covid cases.

The data accounts for the seven days up to February 10 and shows that 106,474 patients tested positive for the virus in England.

It means the number of people testing positive in the country is now only nine per cent higher than in the week ending 2 December 2020.

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