The UK has recorded the lowest number of Covid cases in a week – with the number of first dose vaccinations nearing 50million.
The latest government figures show 38,009 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, while another 74 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid.
The figures are down on yesterday’s tally when 41,278 cases and 166 deaths were recorded.
And today’s figures mark a drop from last Sunday when 39,962 infections and 135 deaths were reported.
Another 33,763 people have had their first Covid vaccine in the last 24 hours – bringing the total number of first jabs to 49,955,853.
Some 45,697,856 second doses have also been delivered, meaning 86.9 per cent of Brits are now fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, 13.8 per cent of the population have been given their boosters or a third dose.
According to the latest government data, 6,981 Covid patients have been admitted to hospital in the last seven days, marking a 5.8 per cent increase.
The number of Covid cases recorded in the UK since the pandemic began passed nine million on Saturday.
The total number of infections currently stands at 9,057,629.
But the seven-day average was down by an astonishing 12.7 per cent – equivalent to 42,185 fewer cases in a week.
It is more evidence that the “winter wave” has already peaked, as experts had predicted – raising hopes Christmas will not be blighted by another lockdown.
It comes as Boris Johnson has been urged to implement his Plan B over autumn and winter to tackle Covid amid a rising number of infections and deaths.
But the PM is reluctant to bring back masks and working from home, as well as imposing vaccine passports over the sky-high cost to businesses.
Plan B would mean bringing back some of the measures seen during the various lockdowns, while the current Plan A focuses on continuing with the vaccine roll-out.
Leaked papers drawn up officials at the Cabinet Office and Treasury predict Plan B would cost up to £3.6bn a month.
Meanwhile, millions more Brits may become eligible for their booster jabs earlier than expected as ministers relaxed the rules around who can get them.
Health bosses will give the green light for more older and vulnerable people to get their top-up jabs even if it has not yet been six months since their last dose.
GPs and health professionals will be able to dish them out to anyone over the five-month mark if they decide it makes operational sense.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This updated guidance will ensure healthcare professionals have the necessary flexibility in the booster programme, allowing more vulnerable people to be vaccinated where it makes operational sense to do so – including our loved ones in care homes.”
The PM added: “Vaccine protection falls over time, and the booster will top up your immunity for the winter months.
“Please come forward to get the jab when it’s your turn.”