COVID-19: UK reports 175 coronavirus deaths and 6,609 cases in latest 24-hour period

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The UK has reported 175 COVID deaths and 6,609 cases in the latest 24-hour period.

The number of fatalities is 61 fewer than last Friday (5 March), when 236 deaths were recorded.

Positive tests have risen by 662, week-on-week.

However, the amount of testing being carried out has risen sharply since children returned to school in England on Monday.

Just over 1.6m tests were conducted yesterday, compared to a little under 993,000 last Thursday.

The number of people who have had a first vaccine dose is now 23.3m, while almost 1.5m have also had a second one.

The number of jabs administered in the latest 24-hour period is 354,372.

Earlier, it was confirmed that the UK's coronavirus reproduction number had dropped to between 0.6 and 0.8, with the number of new infections shrinking by between 4% and 7% every day.

An R number between 0.6 and 0.8 means that, on average, every 10 people with coronavirus will infect between six and eight others.

Meanwhile, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the prevalence of coronavirus in England has fallen to its lowest level since last September.

One in 270 people was infected with COVID-19 in the week ending 6 March - the equivalent of 200,600 individuals, data from the ONS's Infection Survey shows.

The number infected in England is still high when compared with last summer, however.

In the week to 25 August, around one in 2,000 people had coronavirus.