UK coronavirus cases top 14 mln

Britain reported another 179,756 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 14,015,065, according to official figures released Thursday.

The country also reported a further 231 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 149,515, with 17,988 COVID-19 patients still in hospital.

New data revealed that the epicentre of the current COVID outbreak in Britain has moved from London to the North West of England.

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency’s latest surveillance report also showed a sharp rise in hospital admissions in older people, especially those aged over 85.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that more than 20 National Health Service (NHS) trusts have now declared a critical incident.

“There are 137 trusts, there are 24 which are critical. It is not entirely unusual for hospitals to go critical over the winter, often with things like the flu pandemic, but there are very real pressures which I absolutely recognise,” he told Sky News.

He added that an additional 5,000 doctors and 10,000 more nurses are in place across the country compared to last year.

Meanwhile, an estimated 1.3 million people in Britain were experiencing self-reported long COVID as of Dec. 6, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

The figure, which only accounts for the four weeks to Dec. 6, represents 2 percent of the country’s entire population.

The ONS added that 21 percent who were reporting having long COVID first had or suspected having the virus less than 12 weeks ago. A total of 70 percent said they had it at least 12 weeks previously and 40 percent said they were infected at least a year ago.

More than 90 percent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 82 percent have received both doses, according to the latest figures. More than 60 percent have received booster jabs, or the third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. ■