The UK has reported 60,578 new cases of COVID-19 today, as well as a further 259 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to the latest government figures.

The number of new cases in the past seven days was down 4.2% on a week before at 599,229, while the number of deaths was 5.4% down on the previous week at 1,729.

This figure includes reinfections in England and Northern Ireland that are more than 90 days after a previous positive test.

The total is based on positive lab-confirmed PCR tests in all four nations of the UK, plus most positive lateral flow tests reported in England and all lateral flow tests reported in Northern Ireland.

The additional 259 deaths brought the total to 158,243, the government said.

These figures now include deaths in England following possible reinfections of COVID, which is why there has been a jump in the cumulative total and why the daily figure is higher than recently.

Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 180,000 deaths registered in the UK where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate.

Meanwhile, a total of 52,413,781 first doses of COVID vaccine had been delivered in the UK by 4 February, government figures have also shown.

This is a rise of 14,750 on the previous day.

Around 48,549,079 second doses have been delivered, which is an increase of 28,566.

A combined total of 37,493,486 booster and third doses have been given, a day-on-day rise of 35,469.

It comes after Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said yesterday countries in the continent, including th UK, may be entering a “plausible endgame” to the pandemic.

He added: “This context, that we have not experienced so far in this pandemic, leaves us with the possibility for a long period of tranquillity and a much higher level of population defence against any resurge in transmission, even with a more virulent variant.”