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Britain reports 72,727 new COVID cases, 296 deaths

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data show there 72,727 positive tests over the last 24 hours, down from the 76,807 recorded last week.

It was the fifth day in a row cases have fallen — after briefly picking up on Sunday and Monday. However, the UK-wide figures do not include cases in Scotland today so the actual drop-off is may not be as steep as it appears.

The number of people dying with the virus also continued to fall slightly today, reducing 0.3 per cent to 296 from the 297 recorded last week.

The figures come after thousands of punters took to dance floors across England without needing to show Covid passes or use masks for the first time since Plan B measures were brought to an end last night.

Revellers packed out clubs, bars and pubs across England for boozy celebrations yesterday evening as the nation fully embraced its first weekend of partying without Plan B measures in place.

Hundreds of people were pictured queuing to get into bustling venues in Newcastle and Leeds, while young people also made the most of the end of social distancing and the rule of six in Swansea and Cardiff.

And last night, Wales finally re-legalised the opening of nightclubs after they were shut for more than a month under First Minister Mark Drakeford’s draconian Covid curbs.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the end of Plan B measures in England, which included work from home guidance, masks in schools and public places, and the use of Covid passports in large venues.