London [UK], December 31 (ANI/Sputnik): The United Kingdom is at a "critical moment" in the fight against COVID-19 as the single-day rise to the country's death toll neared 1,000 on Wednesday, the largest increase since April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
"Yesterday, sadly, we recorded almost 1,000 deaths across the UK for the first time since April. So at this critical moment, with the prospect of freedom within reach, we've got to redouble our efforts to contain the virus," the prime minister said at a press briefing.
Earlier in the day, the UK Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that 981 people had died due to coronavirus disease-related complications over the preceding 24 hours, the largest single-day increase since the end of April.
The UK also registered 50,023 new positive tests for the coronavirus disease over the past day, health officials said, as the country battles a surge in cases linked to the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is believed to be more transmissible ...
During the press conference, Johnson said that the government would follow a new immunization strategy, which would delay the administration of a second vaccine dose until 12 weeks after an individual has received their first shot. This scheme, the prime minister said, would give more people the protection offered by a single dose of the vaccine.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Wednesday morning issued emergency use approval for a vaccine against COVID-19 produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, the second such vaccine to be cleared for use in the country.
The UK has already begun vaccinating elderly and at-risk individuals with a vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech after the regulatory body issued emergency use approval in early December. (ANI/Sputnik)