Covid-19: UK records further 121 deaths as almost 24m given first jab

13 March 2021, 16:07 | Updated: 13 March 2021, 16:51

A further 121 people have died in hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19
A further 121 people have died in hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A further 121 people have died in hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19 as almost 24 million people receive their first jab against the virus.

The number of deaths has dropped significantly compared with the previous weeks but the UK remains among the highest death tolls in the world and the highest in Europe, with 125,464 recorded so far.

A total of 5,534 new infections were also recorded in past 24 hours - one of the lowest daily numbers since September - bringing the UK total to 4,253,820.

READ MORE: Nearly 50,000 businesses sign up for rapid Covid testing, Hancock says

READ MORE: PM backs calls for national day of reflection to mark anniversary of lockdown

Government data shows that 23,684,103 first doses of the vaccine have been given so far - a rise of 369,578 on the previous day.

Over 1.5 million people have now also received a second Covid-19 jab, with 87,676 delivered in the past 24 hours.

According to the Government dashboard, a delay in receiving information on deaths in England "might have a small impact on the total number of deaths reported" on Saturday but will be added to numbers published on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed plans for a national day of reflection marking the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown and those who have lost their lives in the pandemic.

The end of life charity Marie Curie is planning a day of reflection to remember those who have died for March 23 - exactly a year since the UK was first told to stay at home.

It will include a minute's silence at 12pm followed by a bell toll, and people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm with phones, candles and torches to signify a "beacon of remembrance".

Meanwhile, more than 48,000 businesses have signed up to offer their staff access to rapid testing kits.

READ MORE: PM backs calls for national day of reflection to mark anniversary of Covid-19 lockdown

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the enthusiastic take-up of rapid Covid-19 testing is a "huge step forward" in getting businesses "back on their feet" and keeping people safe.

The tests, known as lateral flow tests, are also being widely used in schools and can produce results in just hours but are not as accurate as the original PCR tests used since the beginning of the pandemic.