Britain reports more than 150,000 deaths from COVID-19

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Jan. 8 (UPI) — The British government reported that more than 150,057 people have died from COVID-19 within 28 days of testing positive for the virus after 313 new deaths were recorded Saturday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that the coronavirus pandemic has “taken a terrible toll” on the country and encouraged people to get vaccinated with booster doses.

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“Each and every one of those is a profound loss to the families, friends and communities affected, and my thoughts and condolences are with them,” Johnson said. “Our way out of this pandemic is for everyone to get their booster or their first or second dose if they haven’t yet.”

The government counts coronavirus deaths with two measures: those who tested positive for the illness within four weeks of their death and those whose death certificates list COVID-19 as their cause of death even if they had not tested for the virus before dying.

There have been 173,248 deaths attributed to COVID-19 on death certificates in the country as of Dec. 24, the data shows.

Britain is the seventh country to pass 150,000 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The United States has seen the greatest number of deaths during the pandemic, with 826,022 — followed by Brazil with 619,513 deaths, India with 483,178 deaths, Russia with 314,604 deaths, Mexico with 299,842 deaths and Peru with 202,904 deaths.

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Britain recorded 146,390 cases of the coronavirus on Saturday as the highly transmissible Omicron variant surges through the country, increasing the number of hospital admissions and deaths despite being considered less severe than previous variants.

Health experts have recommended receiving a third booster dose of the vaccine in order to protect against the Omicron variant. Britain has administered 35.27 million booster doses as of Saturday.

However, British government advisers recommended Friday against giving fourth doses of a vaccine to the elderly and instead focus priorities on getting the majority of the population in all age groups to receive the third shot.

“The current data shows the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups,” said Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 immunization for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.

“For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.”

The advisers recommended that all unvaccinated people come forward to receive their first two doses of the vaccine “as soon as possible.”

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