The UK has recorded 38,520 new COVID-19 cases and 181 more coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, government data shows.

The figures compare with 40,224 infections and 28 fatalities reported yesterday, and 33,869 cases and 166 deaths this time last week.

Meanwhile, there are 7,003 patients in hospital with COVID. Of these, 747 are on ventilators.

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A total of 49,216,092 people have now had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine (85.6% of the UK population aged 12 and over) after 29,172 jabs were administered on Monday.

With 23,632 second doses given yesterday, 45,212,813 people have now had both jabs – equivalent to 78.6% of the population over 12 years old.

It comes after a government minister refused to apologise 11 times for his administration’s handling of the pandemic, following the publishing of a highly-critical report.

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Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay told Sky News’ Kay Burley that he had not yet read the paper.

It stated that thousands of lives were lost due to delays and mistakes by both politicians and their scientific advisers.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Prime Minister Boris Johnson should apologise for the government’s response to the virus.

And Dominic Cummings, the former Downing Street adviser in Mr Johnson’s team, said his old boss was “a joke” – and came to the same conclusion about Sir Keir.

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The World Health Organisation’s special envoy for COVID, Dr David Nabarro, told Sky News there could be “surges of illness” caused by the coronavirus for “months and perhaps even years to come”.

He said those who had not been jabbed would be particularly hard hit by the disease.

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