Britain’s daily Covid cases fall by 3% week-on-week to 5,758 – while deaths plunge by a quarter to 141Covid deaths fell by 25 per cent after 141 fatalities were announced, compared to 190 last WednesdayMore infections with the virus are expected to be picked up because ministers have ramped up testingBut the positivity rate – a more reliable indicator – is still plummeting in every region of the country By Luke Andrews Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 12:36 EDT, 17 March 2021 | Updated: 15:31 EDT, 17 March 2021

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Britain’s daily coronavirus cases have continued to fall by three per cent week-on-week despite officials testing hundreds of thousands more people. 

Department of Health data showed there were 5,758 Covid cases in the past 24 hours, down slightly on 5,926 last Wednesday.  

Infections began to creep upwards last week following a massive spike in Covid tests being carried out because of schools finally being allowed to reopen in England. 

But the test positivity rate — one of the best ways of tracking the size of the outbreak when swabbing increases — has continued to fall.

Daily Covid deaths fell by a quarter week-on-week, today’s figures show. A total of 141 fatalities were announced by the Department of Health, which was 49 fewer than the 190 at the same time last week. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told tonight’s Downing Street press conference that deaths were ‘falling so fast’ because of the highly-successful vaccines.

Pointing to new Public Health England’s analysis of the real-world impact of the jabs, he added: ‘After a single dose of either vaccine, protection against Covid-19 is around 60 per cent, that’s protection against getting it, protection against hospitalisation is around 80 per cent and protection against death is around 85 per cent.’  

DOH data also showed another 433,320 first doses of the vaccine were administered today, bringing the total number of Britons with at least one dose of the vaccine to 25.2million. 

Mr Hancock said he was ‘delighted’ that the UK had crossed the milestone in exactly 100 days after the launch of the mammoth operation. The NHS is now officially inviting all over-50s for their jab.

Data suggests Covid deaths recorded during the second wave are falling faster than in the first as the vaccines take effect

More than a dozen countries in Europe have stopped using AstraZeneca’s vaccine amid unproven concerns it is linked to blood clots

EARLY SIGN OF VACCINE EFFECT AS BRITAIN’S DAILY COVID DEATHS FALL FASTER THAN IN THE FIRST WAVE  Daily coronavirus deaths in Britain are falling at a faster rate than they did during the first wave, according to data which provides even more evidence that vaccines are saving lives.

Figures from No10’s Covid dashboard show that fatalities in the second wave peaked higher and fell further in the following seven weeks than during the same time period in the first wave.

For example, daily Covid fatalities hit 1,362 on deadliest day of the pandemic on January 19. This had fallen to 138 seven weeks later on March 8, the most recent snapshot available – a drop of 90 per cent. By contrast, the first wave peaked at a lower 1,073 on April 8 and fell by 80 per cent to just 213 in the same amount of time.

The early signs of the vaccine effect come as the Government announced more than 25million Britons have had at least one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford University/AstraZeneca jabs.

The milestone, which means almost half of all adults in the country have been jabbed, was hit yesterday exactly 100 days after the mammoth rollout launched. Latest figures show 25,273,226 Brits have received the first injection, while 1,759,445 of them have had their second dose.

On another day of Covid vaccine chaos: 

Dominic Cummings said Britain’s vaccine drive only succeeded because Boris and Vallance took over from the ‘smoking ruin’ Department of Health;Outsed No10 adviser added the civil service was a ‘disaster zone’ and said he insisted the Prime Minister promise it will be reformed;England’s roll-out was today expanded to all over-50s as the drive continued to pick up the pace;Reports mounted of UK patients cancelling Covid jabs because of the EU’s mass revolt against AstraZeneca’s shots over unproven fears;Abortions rose by up to 30 per cent during the first wave in England and Wales after ministers changed the rules to allow terminations at home;And data showed deaths fell faster during the second wave in early sign of vaccine effectiveness.It came as it emerged Britain faces a ‘significant’ shortage of the Pfizer vaccine, with doses being held back to ensure millions do not lose out on getting their second jab within the crucial 12-week gap. 

MailOnline understands ministers are expecting fewer doses of the jab from April, leaving NHS bosses inevitably having to reserve spring supplies to ensure older Britons get their top-up jab within the deadline.

Matt Hancock today said at a Downing Street press conference that the supply is always ‘lumpy’, and they are still on track to meet the target of vaccinating all nine priority groups – including over-50s, NHS staff and care home residents – by the end of April. 

Meanwhile, the success of the Covid jabs were highlighted again tonight as officials unveiled fresh data confirming they reduce deaths in the elderly by 85 per cent.

Public Health England’s vaccine chief Dr Mary Ramsay told tonight’s Downing Street conference that ‘every day we vaccinate more people, we prevent more deaths’. 

She unveiled a raft of new data showing the real-world impact of a single dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s jabs on the UK’s crisis after it emerged 25million Brits have had at least one dose. 

Among the promising findings were an 85 per cent reduction in deaths in the over-80s and an 80 per cent fall in hospitalisations in the same age group. The analysis also found a 60 per cent reduction in catching Covid after one dose for over-70s. 

Dr Ramsay added the risk of getting infected is cut by a third if you live with someone who has been vaccinated. 

She said the jabs’ impact improves across the board when a patient has been fully vaccinated with both doses. The latest data confirms PHE’s initial findings last month.  

But Dr Ramsay urged Britons not to get complacent, adding: ‘Please don’t alter your behaviour when you have the vaccine. Don’t take unnecessary risks.’ 

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