No new COVID-19 deaths were recorded in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland on Monday while Wales reported four new deaths, marking an impressive milestone for the U.K. as figures continue to drop following vaccination efforts.
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all dropped, the BBC reports, with a third of the U.K. adult population fully vaccinated and at least two-thirds having received their first dose.
The BBC notes that this development comes as the coronavirus alert level in the U.K. was lowered from four to three and Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that England would lift more lockdown restrictions next week.
This feat is all the more impressive when taking into consideration that the U.K.'s COVID-19 alert level was at its highest level — level five — in January. The BBC notes that the alert system follows recommendations from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and is independent from the government's decision to lift restrictions.
The Guardian notes that experts have cautioned that such figures are subject to change due to time lags. However, regardless of any changes, experts told the outlet that the U.K. is making excellent progress in combating the pandemic.
“There is always a higher recording of deaths in the second half of the week," University of Edinburgh epidemiology professor Rowland Kao told The Guardian. "But overall it is good news, and does reflect the fact that the shift in recorded cases has moved heavily towards younger age groups, with many more cases per unit population now occurring in the younger adults and teenagers who are much less likely to die."
Michael Head, global health senior research fellow at the University of Southampton, noted that these numbers are significantly better than what was being reported three months ago, calling this "great news and excellent progress.”
“We won’t get zero deaths every day over the next few weeks, but we can expect the numbers to remain low. This is thanks to the recent lockdown that helped to reduce transmission, but also the vaccines for protecting the older and vulnerable population,” Head told the outlet.
According to the World Health Organization, the U.K. has confirmed more than 4.4 million coronavirus cases and more than 127,000 related deaths.