CORONAVIRUS cases in Britain today plunged 13 per cent in a week with 4,654 new infections in the past 24 hours.
Another 23 fatalities were confirmed on the day lockdown restrictions started to ease.
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The latest figures mean 126,573 people have died in the UK since the start of the pandemic, while a total of 4,329,180 have caught the bug in Britain.
Last Monday, 17 fatalities were recorded along with a further 5,342 infections.
Government data up to March 26 shows a total of 33,020,952 Covid vaccines have now been given in the UK so far.
Of those, 29,727,435 were first doses – a rise of 411,305 on the previous day – while 3,293,517 were second doses.
It comes as:
Today’s figures come as Boris Johnson warned “don’t risk our progress” as the UK took its first major step towards lockdown freedom.
Outdoor reunions with up to six family and friends, plus the return of organised sport and weddings, can all now resume in a huge boost to the public mood.
The PM has lifted the stay-at-home guidance to allow groups of up to six, or two households, to meet outside in England.
He said this morning in a video message to the nation to mark the unlocking: “You’ll no longer have to stay at home, but many restrictions will stay in place.
Please follow the new rules carefully so that we can gradually get back to normal together.”
“You should continue to work form home if you can and minimise travel, avoiding the busiest times and route.
“You won’t be able to go abroad holiday yet because we don’t want people to bring back new variants of the virus when they return.”
He added in another plea: “It’s vital that we don’t overdo it and risk all the progress we have made.
“Please follow the new rules carefully so that we can gradually get back to normal together.”
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New rules which come into force today:
- The ‘stay home’ message has been ditched, so it will not be illegal to travel to see relatives outdoors further afield
- Though the public are urged to minimise travel when they do meet up with friends and family
- People will be allowed to meet with up to six others – or two households – outside
- Weddings can resume again in small numbers
- Outdoor sport has restarted with people allowed to play golf and go swimming outdoors again
A No 10 source said: “Today marks the first real freedom for so many people who haven’t seen their loved ones for months.”