CORONAVIRUS deaths in the UK have plunged 24 per cent week-on-week as Boris Johnson prepares to reveal his roadmap out of lockdown.
The UK recorded 10,625 Covid cases and 799 deaths in the last 24 hours.
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Both fell significantly compared to last Tuesday's toll of 12,364 cases and 1,052 deaths.
Figures tend to be higher on Tuesdays due to a lag in recording over the weekend.
The seven-day average for cases is currently at its lowest since early October amid hopes the UK's successful vaccination rollout is having an impact on infections.
So far, more than 15.5 million Brits have received at least one Covid jab after more than 260,000 were injected yesterday.
It comes as:
- Nicola Sturgeon announced Scottish schools will return next week
- Four people were fined £10k for flouting new hotel quarantine rules
- 1.7m more people were told to shield & will get a priority Covid jab
- A new mutant Covid strain from Nigeria was detected in the UK
After hitting its target of vaccinating 15m of the most at-risk Brits over the weekend, the UK is now on target to jab 32m over-50s by the end of April.
Meanwhile, around 26,000 patients are currently in hospital with coronavirus, the lowest level since the New Year.
The number of patients being admitted each day has fallen below 2,000 for the first time since December and the number of patients on ventilation beds is also falling.
The positive figures have lifted hopes ahead of Boris Johnson unveiling his roadmap out of lockdown on February 22.
The PM has already confirmed primary school pupils will return to class on March 8 and could be joined by secondary schools as well.
But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today leapfrogged Boris's timetable and announced Scottish pupils will go back next week.
It is hoped after schools are reopened across the UK, restrictions will be eased to allow adults to meet outside.
After that, it is hoped non-essential shops could reopen by the end of March and al-fresco table service allowed at pubs and restaurants.
Whitehall sources say pubs and restaurants could be given the green-light to allow punters inside, with social distancing, in May.
The UK's current lockdown laws expire on March 31.
Scientists have warned that despite lockdown easing face masks and social distancing are likely to be needed until at least the autumn.
Quarantine hotels, which were launched yesterday, are set to remain until at least March 31.
The new rules require people entering the UK from 33 'red list' countries to isolate in airport hotels at their own expense for at least 10 days.
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