Covid: UK records 109,133 new cases and 335 deaths

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The UK reported 109,133 new coronavirus cases and 335 deaths on Thursday.

Both figures were down on recent days, with cases dropping by around 20,000.

The previous two days saw the highest number of daily Covid-19 deaths since February with 379 and 398. The latest figure brought the total number of deaths recorded by the government to 151,342.

New daily cases have continued downwards since peaking on 2 January at 183,084 at the height of the Omicron wave. The peak figure was nearly triple that of the second wave last January.

Wednesday was the second worst day for the vaccine booster programme of the year so far. A total of 126,632 booster and third doses of Covid-19 vaccine were delivered, the lowest daily figure since 2 January.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has announced that the isolation period after testing positive for Covid will be cut to five full days from next Monday, to get staff back to work faster.

He said the scientific evidence was that two-thirds of Covid cases were “no longer infectious after the end of day five”.

New NHS data showed that less than half of all patients with Covid in English hospitals in were being treated primarily for something else — the highest proportion since the data was first published in June 2021.

Mr Javid said there were “already signs that the rate of hospitalisation is starting to slow”.

But he said the Omicron variant “still has the potential to lead to significant numbers of people in hospital”.

Separate figures showed that more than half of England’s NHS trusts had more than 90 per cent of beds occupied every day in the week to 9 January. The recommended limit is 85 per cent.

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