UK confirms 516,289 covid cases and 744 deaths

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UK Covid-19 cases have risen by more than half a million in the last seven days as infections spread across the country.

The UK Health Security Agency confirmed that 516,289 cases and 744 deaths within 28 days of a positive test had been reported in the last seven days, as of Wednesday 16 March.On Tuesday, 492,103 cases and 714 deaths were reported over the previous seven days.

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A new coronavirus variant, dubbed ‘Stealth Omicron’, is responsible for around 57 per cent of current cases in England.

Stealth Omicron is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, and scientists fear it to be more transmissible.

In February, England eased all of its coronavirus restrictions, including the legal responsibility to self-isolate following a positive case. Health secretary Sajid Javid said a rise in infections is “expected”.

He said the UK remains in a “perfect position”, but he urged adults eligible for a booster vaccine to come forward and get the jab.

Health secretary, Sajid Javid, said cases are “expected” to rise and new variants and not concerning at this time.

Omicron and its variants remain the most dominant strain of the virus globally, accounting for 98.8 per cent of cases submitted to the GISAID global database for virus tracking since 25 January.

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Another variant, titled ‘Deltacron’, was also discovered by scientists in France and is thought to have been circulating since January.

Deltacron has elements of both the Delta and Omicron variants. On cases of Deltacron in the UK, Mr Javid told BBC Breakfast: “I think there’s only a handful of cases here in the UK; it’s not something that’s of particular concern to us at this point.

“We do keep the situation under review daily, but the dominant variant in the UK – 99.9% of infections is Omicron infections,” he said.

“And whilst the rate has gone up modestly in the last few days, that’s to be expected as we are now open as a country and there’s more social mixing, but there’s nothing in the data at this point in time that gives us any cause for concern.”

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