LONDON (Reuters) – More than 20 million people across the UK have received their first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, data showed on Sunday as the country moved further with Europe’s fastest vaccination program. .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the milestone represented “a great national achievement and testified to the nation’s health, workers, volunteers and armed forces.
“I urge everyone to take the jab when called,” Johnson said. “Every hit makes a difference in our battle against COVID.”
Britain has suffered the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe, currently at 122,849, and the strongest economic impact among the big rich countries, as measured by official data holders.
But the pace of its vaccination implementation has heightened the prospect of a gradual lifting of its current lockdown restrictions between now and the end of June.
On Sunday, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak promised to help the economy as long as the country remains under restrictions.
In a budget statement on Wednesday, it is expected to announce more loans in addition to its nearly 300 billion pounds ($ 418 billion) of COVID-19 spending and tax cuts.
Official data showed that a total of 20.09 million people in Britain have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 800,000 have received a second dose.
Last week, Britain said that more than one in three adults had received their first vaccination.
Britain also reported another 6,035 cases in the previous 24 hours and 144 more deaths in the 28 days after a positive test on Sunday.
The latest figures mean that cases in the past seven days decreased by 21.2% compared to the previous seven-day period of February 15-21, and deaths decreased by 33.5%.
Written by William Schomberg; Editing by Jane Merriman and Susan Fenton