COVID-19: UK reports 51,870 new coronavirus cases and 49 more deaths

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The UK has reported 51,870 new COVID-19 cases and 49 more deaths in the latest 24-hour period, according to government figures.

On Thursday there were 63 deaths and 48,553 new COVID-19 cases confirmed - the largest number of daily cases for exactly six months.

Some 42,302 new infections were confirmed on Wednesday, along with 49 fatalities.

Earlier on Friday, it was confirmed that England's R number had dropped slightly to between 1.2 and 1.4, despite an increase in coronavirus infection rates across the UK.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that more than half a million people in private households in England are likely to have had COVID-19 in the week to 10 July.

This is equivalent to approximately one in 95 people in England.

The drive to vaccinate as many people as possible continues ahead of Monday, when England is expected to have the last restrictions eased.

More than two-thirds of adults have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, and hundreds of thousands more people are being urged to bring forward their second dose of a vaccine.

Text messages are being sent to 650,000 people telling them they should make sure their second vaccine appointment is no more than eight weeks after their first.

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