COVID cases in the UK today passed six million since the pandemic began as a drive to get youngsters vaccinated is launched.
A further 31,808 infections were recorded – bringing the total number to 6,014,023.
The government figures also show 92 people have died with the total number of Covid victims now at 130,178.
Yesterday, there were 86 new deaths and 30,215 more cases recorded.
Today's grim milestone comes as government data on case numbers shows the number of people testing positive has come down 10 per cent in the past week.
But scientists originally believed this was a fluke as numbers from the Office for National Statistics didn't tally up with cases on the government's dashboard.
But the trends now mirror each other – leading to fresh hope the UK's third wave could be over.
The crucial R rate has also dropped below 1 in a positive sign the virus could be easing.
Last week the R rate was between 1.1 and 1.4 and this week it has plummeted to 0.8 to 1.1.
And the ONS said the number of people with the virus in England has come down in its first set of data reflecting "Freedom Day".
It comes amid a fresh plea for Brits to get vaccinated – with experts warning of a winter spike in infections if kids don't get the jab.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London said the virus is currently "flourishing" in younger age groups.
And the expert panel on vaccinations – the JCVI – advised this week that 16 and 17-year-olds should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Ministers across the UK have accepted the recommendation and the NHS is making preparations to start giving first doses in coming weeks.
It comes as…
- Covid cases ARE falling and R rate drops in first key data since Freedom Day
- Covid vaccines ‘less effective’ against new Colombian variant and may NOT stop you spreading Delta, PHE warns
- UK has ‘no chance’ at herd immunity without vaccinating kids, experts say
- Travel expert shares ‘irresponsible’ loophole for Brits in red-list countries to avoid costly quarantine
A decision on whether to vaccinate 12 to 15 year olds is being mulled over, after the jab has been proven safe and effective in this group.
There are no developments in children under the age of 12.
Meanwhile, Covid vaccines are “less effective” against a new variant most prolific in Colombia, initial lab studies show.
Public Health England made the warning alongside revealing vaccinated people who are infected with Delta are likely to be just as infectious as those unvaccinated.
It suggests jabs do not prevent spread of transmission of the Delta strain as much as hoped.
The agency made a plea for people to their jabs, which are the best way to prevent infection leading to serious disease or death.
Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Vaccination is the best tool we have in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from the serious disease risk Covid can pose.
“However, we must also remember that the vaccines do not eliminate all risk: it is still possible to become unwell with Covid and infect others.
“It is still vital that we exercise caution, particularly while cases are high.
“Remember that meeting outdoors is safer than indoors, isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace, and if you show symptoms stay home and get a PCR test as soon as possible. It is so important that we all continue to play our part.”
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