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COVID-19: UK records 158 deaths and 6,040 cases in latest 24-hour

People headed out for a walk in Greenwich Park, South East London today, as cold weather hit the capital

The UK has recorded 158 coronavirus-related deaths and 6,040 cases in last 24-hour period, according to government figures.

The figures represent a drop from last Saturday (27 February), when 290 deaths and 7,434 coronavirus cases were reported.

It brings the UK total since the start of the pandemic to 124,419 deaths and 4,213,343 cases.

Meanwhile, a total of 22,887,118 COVID-19 jabs have been given in the UK so far, according to government data up to 5 March.
Of these, 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.

The Midlands have administered the most jabs of any English region, according to data from NHS England.

In the region, between 8 December and 5 March, 3,603,903 first doses and 134,215 second doses were given, making a total of 3,738,118.

The South East is second with 2,980,223 first doses and 129,116 second doses given over the same period, equalling 3,109,339 jabs.
The South West has administered the least with 2,122,425 first and 92,461 second doses given, for a total of 2,214,886.

Ministers have said the UK is on track to vaccinate every adult at least once by the end of July.

Before then the government is aiming to vaccinate everyone in the first nine priority groups – equivalent to 32 million people – by 15 April.

This includes the clinically vulnerable and all over-50s.

It comes as a top scientist said she is “optimistic” the vaccination programme will allow Britain to ease virus restrictions by summer as planned.

Professor Sharon Peacock, who is in charge of tracking strains of the virus in Britain, told The Times that new variants are “very unlikely to send us back to square one”, as the UK can “stay ahead” of the virus by adapting vaccines quickly.

Separately, a union has warned that large numbers of nurses could quit after the pandemic over the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff.

Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s South East regional director, said there was a “real risk” that “significant numbers of experienced, expert nurses will see the end of the pandemic [and think] that enough is enough”.

The RCN has set up a £35m industrial action fund – threatening to take strike action – over the pay hike proposed by the government, while another union has urged the public to support a slow hand clap next week mocking the proposals.