Daily reported coronavirus deaths have topped 200 in the UK for the first time in nearly six months.
Some 207 COVID-19 deaths were reported by the government on Wednesday, the highest since 236 were recorded on 5 March – when the UK was still under lockdown restrictions.
The latest figures follow a bank holiday weekend, when there is usually a lag in reporting deaths and cases.
Week-on-week death and case numbers appear to have stabilised.
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There were 739 COVID deaths reported in the week up to Wednesday, down 0.5% from the previous seven days. Meanwhile, there were 236,279 infections reported over the past seven days, down 0.2% from the prior week.
However, hospital admissions continue to slowly increase, with 6,484 patients admitted in the seven days to Wednesday. This is up 4.6% from the previous week.
It comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is preparing to make a final decision about a booster vaccine campaign, with the NHS in England poised to start it from Monday.
This is amid concerns about the impact of the virus in the upcoming winter months, which favour respiratory viruses such as COVID.
Prof Chris Whitty, the UK's most prominent COVID scientist, was among those this summer who warned of a "difficult" winter.
Discussions have turned to the ventilation of classrooms as pupils return to school, and Prof Tim Sharpe, an adviser to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Breakfast that good ventilation is a way of “helping to get fresh air in to get rid of the virus where it may occur”.
However, he added a balance needs to be struck to ensure people are not “freezing cold”.
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