Virus Cases In UK Has Risen To Its Highest Level Since February 5 As Result Of ‘Grab A Jab’ Campaign

LONDON — The National Health Service in the United Kingdom registered the highest new coronavirus infections since early February on Saturday, as part of a “grab a jab” campaign to boost vaccination rates.

According to government data, another 18,270 persons in the United Kingdom tested positive for the virus, the largest daily number since February 5. Roughly 100,000 people have tested positive in the last week, up nearly 50% from the previous week. This has generated doubts about whether the lockdown would be lifted as scheduled.

After hovering around the 2,000 level for several weeks, daily cases have climbed dramatically in recent weeks. The delta variation, which was originally found in India and is thought to be 40 percent to 80 percent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain by government experts, accounts for virtually all new cases in the United Kingdom.

The majority of the new confirmed cases are among children and adolescents who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccination. Hundreds of walk-in vaccination locations, including stadiums and retail malls, opened over the weekend in England in an attempt to boost immunization numbers, particularly among the younger age groups.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said, “This is a wonderful success, and it’s terrific to see so many young people come forward for their shots, doing their part to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The spread of the variation has thrown the Conservative government’s intentions to remove all remaining social contact restrictions in England this week into disarray. On July 19, the limitations will be lifted, but whether or not this happens will be determined by whether or not the vaccination deployment has built a firewall that protects the most susceptible. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as the rest of the United Kingdom, are pursuing similar ideas.

Because of the fast distribution of vaccinations, it is hoped that the relationship between illnesses and those who require hospitalization and thereafter die would be severed. As of Saturday, over two-thirds of the population in the United Kingdom had gotten at least one vaccination shot, with 48% having received two.

According to a recent study by Public Health England, two doses of the major vaccinations used in the United Kingdom are extremely successful against hospitalization due to the delta variant — 96 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 92 percent for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Though the number of patients in hospitals and deaths has increased in recent weeks, it has not increased at the same rate as infections. The authorities announced on Saturday that another 227 individuals had been admitted to hospitals, bringing the total to 1,505, much below the 40,000 people admitted earlier this year during the peak of a second wave. Virus-related fatalities remained low at 23, bringing the overall number of deaths to 128,089.

Thousands of anti-lockdown protestors marched through downtown London on Saturday, raising concerns about vaccinations. Some reportedly hurled tennis balls into Downing Street, the home and office of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Some chanted, “Shame on you!”

Meanwhile, Johnson is facing widespread calls to remove Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has apologized for breaking social distancing guidelines after photos of him embracing staffer Gina Coladangelo were published in the newspaper. She was assigned to Hancock’s department last year and is a friend of Hancock’s from their days together at Oxford University.

A video of the hug was also published late Friday by the Sun tabloid, prompting the major opposition Labour Party to call his position “hopelessly unsustainable.” Some Conservative legislators have also called for Hancock’s resignation, claiming that he wasn’t following his own advice throughout the epidemic.

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