The UK has recorded a further 148 COVID-related deaths and 43,423 new cases in the latest 24-hour reporting period, government figures show.
It is the fourth consecutive day the number of new coronavirus infections has exceeded the 40,000 mark.
Some 39,351 people had their first vaccine dose on Friday, while 28,258 got their second, bringing the total number of people fully vaccinated to 45,325,489 in the UK – 78.8% of over 12s.
COVID-related deaths, infections and hospitalisations have all been on the rise over the last week or so, as the UK heads into the winter months and the weather has begun to dip.
The figures come a day after testing was suspended at a laboratory in Wolverhampton after around 43,000 people were given the wrong results over the course of a month.
Most of the false negatives were in southwest England, the UK Health Security Agency said.
There has been positive news for the international travel industry this week though, with the US setting a date that its border will open to fully vaccinated foreign travellers.
Britons who have had both jabs will be allowed into the US from 8 November, allowing people to head on holiday or meet up with friends and family for the first time in more than 18 months.
Fully vaccinated travellers coming into England from non-red list countries will also now be able to use lateral flow tests rather than the more costly PCR ones from 24 October, in a move that will make holidays cheaper – though they will still have to be bought privately.
On Friday, SAGE estimated the UK’s R number to be 0.9 to 1.1 – the same as the week before.
It means that for every 10 people that contract the virus, they, on average, pass it on to between nine and 11 others.
An R number below one would suggest the pandemic is in retreat.
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