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UK records another 2,206 coronavirus cases, 35 deaths

LONDON, April 17 :  Another 2,206 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,385,938, according to official figures released Saturday.

The country also reported another 35 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,260. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

More than 32.6 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Earlier Saturday, a leading scientist warned that a coronavirus variant which first emerged in India could “scupper” Britain’s roadmap to exit the current lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic in the country.

Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology from Imperial College London, said the country should be on its guard against a third wave of coronavirus after 77 cases of the B.1.617 variant were found in Britain.

“I think we should be terribly concerned about it,” Altmann told BBC News.

“They (variants of concern) are things that can most scupper our escape plan at the moment and give us a third wave,” the professor said. “They are a worry.”

It is undertood that the coronavirus variant, which has a “double mutation”, may be more infectious and the current vaccines may be less effective against it.

Currently, British officials have designated it as “a variant under investigation,” rather than “a variant of concern”.

As England further eases its lockdown, all shops reopened from Monday along with hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services.

Restaurants and pubs were allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors. Meanwhile, gyms, spas, zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centers can all open.

Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants and the third wave of pandemic on the European continent.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem