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Coronavirus cases rise by a million in UK, experts urge caution

The UKHSA's own weekly assessment shows that case rates remain highest in those aged 30 to 39, with the lowest case rates in those aged 0 to four

Arriving passengers queue at UK Border Control at the Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London (Photo: Reuters)

FILE PIC: Arriving passengers queue at UK Border Control at the Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London (Photo: Reuters)

Press Trust of India London
Experts have urged caution as coronavirus cases in the UK shot up by nearly a million in a week to reach 4.26 million cases up from 3.3 million the week before, according to latest official data released on Friday.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) attributed the sharp rise in cases to the Omicron BA.2 variant, an even more transmissible form of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19. The number of people in hospital with the virus is also on the rise, though cases of severe illness remain low.
The rate at which we're currently seeing cases increasing is a reminder to us all that the pandemic is not over, said Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Hospital admissions and cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise and we can expect to see further increases before we start to see a decline. Vaccination is the key to staying safe from serious illness and it's vital that everyone gets all of their recommended doses, she said.
Wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces, socialising outside where possible, and always observing good hand hygiene will also help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms or a positive test should limit their contact with others as much as possible, she added.
The UKHSA's own weekly assessment shows that case rates remain highest in those aged 30 to 39, with the lowest case rates in those aged 0 to four. The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over. It comes as the UK began rolling out its fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses targeted at this age group, with a top-up booster shot being offered to everyone aged 75 and over and those deemed medically high-risk. The National Health Service (NHS) began rolling out the so-called Spring Boosters from this Monday, which is expected to cover around 5 million people.
Meanwhile, UKHSA data shows that 53.7 per cent of pregnant women in England have been vaccinated with at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. However, the uptake remains low among certain groups living in deprived areas of the country.
It is very encouraging to see that by December 2021, over half of pregnant women in England had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the time of delivery, said Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA.
We urge all pregnant women who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward for their jab. COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK are highly effective at protecting against hospitalisation and our ongoing monitoring of the vaccine programme continues to reassure us on the safety of these vaccines with similar pregnancy outcomes for vaccinated and unvaccinated pregnant women, she said.
The UKHSA highlighted research that shows that vaccinated women who gave birth between January and December 2021 had a very similar low risk of stillbirth, low birthweight and premature birth compared to women who were not vaccinated in pregnancy.
Additionally, previous studies have shown the risk of being severely ill with COVID-19 is higher for unvaccinated women. Pregnant women who develop severe disease have increased rates of admission to intensive care, the need for invasive ventilation and pre-term delivery.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 25 2022 | 8:14 PM IST

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