Britain reports 438 new COVID-19 deaths, highest since February

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LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Britain reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in almost a year on Tuesday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government considers relaxing measures introduced to reduce the spread of Omicron variant.

Britain reported 438 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily total since Feb. 24 last year.

Health minister Sajid Javid earlier told parliament he was optimistic that COVID-19 measures introduced to reduce the spread of Omicron will be scaled back next week as cases and hospitalisations look to have peaked. read more

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The government is considering phasing out England’s remaining pandemic restrictions, including working from home guidance and the use of vaccine passports, British media have reported.

Despite infections reaching record highs in recent weeks, the rapid roll-out of booster shots and the lesser severity of Omicron has meant hospitalisations and deaths have not risen as sharply compared with earlier waves of the pandemic.

Britain has reported 152,513 deaths from COVID-19 in total, the seventh highest death total in the world, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in the first year of the pandemic.

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Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by William James

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