UK records another 2,874 coronavirus cases, 7 deaths

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Another 2,874 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,455,221, according to official figures released Thursday.

The country also reported another seven coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,701. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

Earlier Thursday, a British government advisory scientist warned that the India-related coronavirus variant could drive another wave in Britain.

"The virus just got faster," said Andrew Hayward, a professor from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), indicating that Britain could be at start of the third COVID wave.

"That really brings it back down to this race against the vaccine and the virus," Hayward, an infectious diseases expert at University College London, told the BBC.

Almost 3,000 cases of the coronavirus variant first detected in India have been reported in Britain, 28 percent up from Monday's figure of more than 2,300, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Wednesday.

Nearly 37.2 million people, or more than 70 percent of adults in Britain, have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

From Monday, pubs, bars and restaurants in England were permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children's play areas.

People were also allowed to travel abroad to a number of green-list countries without having to quarantine upon return as the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted.

The British government's roadmap is expected to see all legal limits on social contact to be removed on June 21.

Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is "still not out of the woods" amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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