UK records further 290 coronavirus deaths as 19.6m given first vaccine

27 February 2021, 17:56

A further 290 people have died after testing positive Covid-19
A further 290 people have died after testing positive Covid-19. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A further 290 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the UK as almost 20 million people have now received their first jab.

Another 7,434 cases were also recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing totals to 4,170,519 confirmed infections and 122,705 deaths - the highest in Europe.

But infections, hospitalisations and deaths continue to fall dramatically as lockdown and a rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccines continues across the UK.

Cases have dropped by 18% and deaths by 32% compared to the previous seven days.

Read more: Rishi Sunak says UK economy will face 'enormous strains' post-lockdown

Government data up to February 26 shows that 9,682,048 first doses of the jab have now been given - a rise of 504,493 on the previous day.

Some 768,810 second doses were also administered - an increase of 32,773.

But top scientists have warned that infection rates are once again rising in some parts of the country and have urged people not to abandon the rules after they have had the jab as the risk to others continues to stay high.

It was revealed yesterday that one in five local authority areas in England are seeing cases rising despite the current lockdown measures.

England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said the figures are "not a good sign" and warned Brits thinking of breaking the rules: "Do not wreck this now."

Read more: Crowds flock to parks and beaches despite Covid-19 warning from top scientists

Professor Van-Tam presented to the briefing what he branded "quite sobering" slides that highlighted the rising number of case rates in some regions.He said they revealed that there "were quite a few areas of the UK that are burning quite hot" in terms of infections, including in the Midlands and spreading up to the west coast of England.

It follows a warning from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) that people who have received a jab might be less inclined to stick to the rules unless the science behind transmission is explained to them.

Good communication with the public is vital to prevent people abandoning social distancing measures, the group said.

In a recent paper, the scientists added that the success of the vaccine rollout may mean even those who have not had a dose may "perceive there is no longer a major risk" to the most vulnerable.

Read more: SAGE scientists say clear messaging 'key to make sure people stick to rules after jab'

Sage noted 20 per cent of UK adults have received a first dose of vaccine while 16% believe they have recovered from the virus - a belief associated with perceptions of immunity.

It warned these figures may create the impression the threat has permanently receded, making it harder to stick to restrictions on seeing friends or family.