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COVID deaths rise by two thirds in past week as another 31,772 cases recorded

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Another 31,772 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths have been reported across the UK in the latest 24-hour period.

The figures, released on Sunday, compared with 32,367 cases and 34 deaths the day before – just below Friday’s recorded cases when the highest number of infections since 22 January were recorded.

COVID cases in the past week have risen by just over 27% compared with the previous week while deaths have risen by two thirds.

Another 93,763 people had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK on Saturday, taking the total to 45,881,721 – 87.1% of the adult population.

A total of 211,446 people had their second jab, meaning 34,764,511 (66% of adults) are now fully vaccinated.

The number of hospital admissions has more than doubled (56.6%) in the last week data is available for, with 563 people admitted to hospital on 6 July and 3,081 in the week to that date.

The latest statistics come eight days before most restrictions are due to be lifted in England as part of step four of the lifting of lockdown, although the final decision will be made on Monday.

More on Covid-19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week said the UK will have to learn to live with the virus as he hailed the success of the vaccine rollout and said the majority of those being admitted to hospital are unvaccinated.

But scientists have urged ministers to reconsider the plans as they described abandoning restrictions as a “dangerous and unethical experiment”.

In a letter published in The Lancet, 122 British scientists said the exponential growth of the virus “will likely continue until millions more are infected, leaving hundreds of thousands with long-term illness and disability”.

They also said they are concerned the strategy “provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants”.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to move from “government diktat” towards personal responsibility, removing legal requirements for measures such as mask wearing.