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Another 122 COVID deaths reported as 31,348 test positive across the UK

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Another 122 COVID-19 deaths and a further 31,348 cases have been recorded in the UK in the latest 24-hour reporting period, government figures show.

It comes after Friday saw another 35,623 cases and 180 deaths reported in the UK, with the latest figures demonstrating a slight fall in the daily rates.

The vaccination rollout continues, with 26,964 getting their first dose of a COVID-19 jab on Friday, while a further 43,801 had their second dose.

In total, 44,692,956 have now been fully vaccinated across the UK.

The figures come as England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said that COVID-19 still posed a risk to the country.

Using one of his trademark metaphors to make his point, Prof Van-Tam said: “It’s as if there was this big express train that came down the east coast mainline, but, actually, the final destination is the last stop in Scotland somewhere.

“Of course, as you go down that rail journey, the line speeds decrease, they get a bit more twisty and turny, there are more stops, and false endings.

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“We’re still in the pandemic period and I think the period of considerable hazard is going to last for several more months.”

He also urged the public to listen to health experts, rather than celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, adding: “If your gaming PC develops a fault, don’t take it to a plumber and ask them to fix it.”

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On Friday, the R number fell slightly to between 0.8 and 1.0.

The R number indicates the average number of people each COVID-positive person goes on to infect.

An R value between 0.8 and 1.0 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 10 other people.

For some time, the government said it was aiming to keep the number below 1.0, which would suggest the pandemic is in retreat.