COVID-19: UK records 56 further coronavirus-related deaths and 29,173 cases

The figures are down from the 68 deaths and 37,011 cases recorded last Sunday. Yesterday, the UK recorded 156 COVID deaths and 29,547 cases.
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Infection rates have remained level in England but increased in Wales and Scotland (and were uncertain in Northern Ireland), the latest Office for National Statistics figures suggested earlier this week.

Rates have skyrocketed in Scotland – where schools reopen earlier than the rest of the UK – and there are fears a return to the classroom could push up infections across the rest of the nations.

Earlier today, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News that the nation had seen a spike in cases but said: “We think we’re seeing that spike level off and stabilise.”

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Scotland is ‘not in danger’ of another lockdown

She went on to urge people to comply with regulations and get a coronavirus jab, saying that was the “most important thing” any of us could do to keep ourselves and others safe ahead of a “challenging and difficult winter period”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline the next steps in the pandemic response next week as he aims to avoid another winter of lockdowns against a backdrop of high COVID-19 cases, the return of flu season and extra pressures on the NHS.
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He is expected to repeal some powers of the Coronavirus Act, including being able to close down the economy, impose restrictions on events and gatherings and temporarily close schools.

But powers that are thought to be remaining include giving sick pay to those isolating from day one, helping the NHS get the emergency resources it needs and directing schools to stay open if they close against government guidance.

A decision is also expected next week on how widely a booster jab programme should be rolled out.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the government, will reveal its recommendation in the coming days.