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UK records 32,651 new COVID cases and 178 further deaths – with 8,068 patients in hospital

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The UK has recorded another 32,651 coronavirus cases and a further 178 related deaths, with the number of COVID patients in hospital now at 8,068.

The total number of people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK has been over 8,000 for 10 of the past 11 days.

Before that, the last time the figure surpassed 8,000 was in early March.

On this day last year there were 1,106 COVID patients reported in hospital across the UK.

The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds currently stands at 1,020 – the figure has been over 1,000 every day since the last day of August. Before this, the last time the number was as high was in mid-March.

The latest cases and deaths figures compare with the 26,911 infections and 158 fatalities confirmed yesterday.

Meanwhile, another 23,833 people had their first coronavirus vaccine dose, taking the total to 48,528,901.

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A further 63,999 people had their second dose, taking the total of fully vaccinated people in the UK to 44,298,076.

The figures come as major changes to the rules for international travel is being announced today.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he will later announce measures to “simplify international travel… to reduce costs, take advantage of higher levels of vaccination, and keep us all safe”.

He did not expand on what those changes could be but some reports have said the green and amber lists will be merged into one category of low-risk nations and the number of places on the red list will be reduced.