Weekly coronavirus deaths in England, Wales fall below 1,000 for first time since October: ONS

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LONDON, March 30 (Xinhua) — Weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales have fallen below 1,000 for the first time since October, the latest figures from the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Tuesday.

There were 963 deaths registered in the week ending March 19 where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, a decrease of 538 deaths compared with the previous week, according to the ONS.

This is the lowest number since the week ending Oct. 16, said the ONS.

The ONS figures also showed that deaths among people aged 80 and over have fallen by 90 percent since the second-wave peak.

Meanwhile, a major study of care home residents in England has found that their risk of infection with coronavirus fell by 62 percent five weeks after they received their first vaccine jab, The Guardian newspaper reported Monday.

The study, funded by the British Department of Health and Social Care, tracked more than 10,400 care home residents in England with an average age of 86 between December 2020 and March this year, comparing the number of infections occurring in vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.

The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that both vaccines Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech reduced the risk of infection by about 56 percent at 28-34 days after the first dose, and 62 percent at 35-48 days.

More than 30.4 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures. The British government said the country is “on course” to meet its target of offering a first dose to the top nine priority groups, including the over-50s, by April 15 and all adults by the end of July.

On Feb. 22, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his roadmap exiting the lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic. The March 8 reopening of schools was first part of the four-step plan which is expected to see all legal restrictions in England being removed by mid-June.

Stephen Powis, national medical director of National Health Service (NHS) England has warned that Britons should not “squander the gains” made against coronavirus in recent months.

Coronavirus could still “wreak more havoc and ill-health on a significant scale” amid concerns over variants, said Powis.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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