The United Kingdom, which has recorded Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll, has announced no new daily COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March last year.
The milestone reached on Tuesday spurred hope that the impact of the pandemic was easing, but concerns simmered over a rise in cases linked to the Delta variant first identified in India.
With 127,782 deaths, the UK has the world’s fifth-worst toll. The last time the UK recorded no coronavirus deaths was in March 2020, before the country entered its first lockdown.
However, Tuesday’s figure may yet be revised because the number of deaths reported on any given day has typically occurred earlier, with the total toll by date determined later.
It also came after a national holiday on Monday – a factor that has in the past skewed the data. Figures are often lower at weekends and holidays because of a lag in reporting.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock nevertheless welcomed the announcement as “undoubtedly good news”, saying the UK’s vaccine rollout, which began in December, was “clearly working”.