The UK recorded a further 226,524 Covid cases today (March 21), which includes figures from Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, March 20, as well as a further 169 virus-related deaths
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The UK has recorded 226,524 more Covid cases for today, while the virus-related death toll has risen by 169.
The latest data from the Department of Health, released this afternoon, also includes figures for Saturday and Sunday – as the number of Covid hospitalisations in Scotland reached a record high.
It compares to 170,985 cases recorded this time last week and 135 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
The difference in cases is 32.4%.
The Government stopped releasing individual sets of infection figures for weekends at the end of last month.
On March 7, there was a three-day count of 126,604 and on February 28 it was 82,451.
Covid hospital admissions rocketed last week with 552,198 new patients, up by 152,378 – or by 38.1% in the seven days prior to Friday, March 18.
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It comes after the Government dropped much of its Covid measures in England almost a month ago on February 24.
The Living with Covid plan means those who test positive are no longer required to self-isolate but are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for at least five days.
Masks are also no longer legally required in public.
The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in Scotland has reached its highest total since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to latest figures.
They show 2,128 patients were in hospital with the virus on Sunday, a record high, with 31 severely ill in intensive care.
As of April 1, lateral flow tests will no longer be free, except for over-75s and over-12s with weakened immune systems.
This time last year (Saturday, March 20 to Monday, March 22), there was a combined total of 16,241 cases.
However, England was just emerging from its latest lockdown – with Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiling his roadmap for lockdown easing on February 22.
At that time in 2021, schools in England had reopened, recreation in outdoor public spaces was allowed between two people – but the stay at home order remained in effect.
The latest vaccination figures, as of last Thursday (March 17), show 52,725,660 people in Britain have had the first dose.
A total of 49,269,524 have had the second and a third booster dose has been received by 38,596,693.
It comes as over-50s will ‘probably’ get a fourth Covid vaccine dose this autumn, Sajid Javid declared today.
The Health Secretary gave the strongest hint yet that there will be a wider rollout of ’second boosters’ – fourth doses overall – as cases rise and immunity wanes.
It comes as it emerged the NHS was planning for a range of scenarios in a rollout between September and December – with eligible groups ranging from over-65s and NHS care staff to all over-50s.
People aged 75 and over, and immunosuppressed over-12s and adults, have been able to book a Spring booster since 7am today – as long as it’s at least six months since their last dose.
For most people this will be their fourth dose, though for some immunosuppressed people it will be their fifth.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is still debating whether to extend fourth doses more widely.
The JCVI has said a wider fourth dose rollout could be limited to some groups, and not be offered to all adults like the last booster programme.
Meanwhile, pregnant women who catch Covid are twice as likely to develop serious complications and three times more likely to suffer a potentially fatal blood, according to scientists.
Meanwhile, in the UK, mums-to-be who have not had the jab make up a fifth of the most ill patients in intensive care, data showed.
Infected patients who took part in this latest study were three times as likely to have a blood clot – known medically as a thromboembolism, scientists discovered.
Thromboembolism can cause a blockage in the main artery of the lung or form elsewhere and become life threatening.
Overall, the coronavirus raised the risk of a severe maternal illness two-and-a-half times, researchers found.
Pre-term births during early, middle, and late terms of the pregnancy doubled, while birth may need to be induced early when the mother has a condition such as pre-eclampsia, the study revealed.