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UK surpasses 100,000 COVID deaths in grim new milestone

LONDON: More than 100,000 Britons have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, official data showed on Tuesday, a grim new milestone as the government battles to speed up vaccination delivery and keep variants of the virus at bay.

Britain has the fifth highest toll globally and reported a further 1,631 deaths and 20,089 cases on Tuesday, according to government figures.

The 100,162 deaths are more than the country’s civilian toll in World War Two and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign, although the total population was lower then.

“My thoughts are with each and every person who has lost a loved one – behind these heart-breaking figures are friends, families and neighbours,” health minister Matt Hancock said.

“I know how hard the last year has been, but I also know how strong the British public’s determination is and how much we have all pulled together to get through this.”

England, by far the most populous of the UK’s four nations, re-entered a national lockdown on Jan. 5, which includes the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops and schools to most pupils. Further travel restrictions have been introduced.

READ: WHO issues new clinical advice on treating COVID-19 patients

In December, Britain became the first country in the world to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and has set itself the task of offering jabs to everyone 70 and over, those who are clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care workers and older adults in care homes by mid-February.

A total of 6,853,327 people have now received a first dose and 472,446 a second dose.

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