The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.
The inoculations were administered by a Household Doctor at Windsor Castle, a royal source said.
To prevent inaccuracies and further speculation, Her Majesty, who is aged 94, decided that she would let it be known she has had the vaccination, the source added. Her husband is aged 99.
The couple's son, Prince Charles, tested positive for coronavirus and went into isolation in March. The 72-year-old later said he had been lucky to only experience mild symptoms, adding he'd "got away with it quite lightly."
Meanwhile, their grandson Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year, UK media reported, though exactly when he contracted the virus is unclear.
UK sees record high deaths: The United Kingdom reported 1,325 deaths and 68,053 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest daily increases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data released by the UK Health Department.
There has been a surge of more than 15,000 cases since Thursday.
The figures present a rise in cases as the new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK, sweeps the nation.
The UK has recorded more than 2.9 million cases of Covid-19, and almost 80,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
At least 63 cases of a variant first identified in the UK have been identified in eight US states, according to data posted Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This includes at least 32 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, three cases in Colorado, two cases in Connecticut, and one case each in Georgia, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.
CDC says this does not represent the total number of cases circulating in the US, but rather just those that have been found by analyzing positive samples. The agency cautions that its numbers may not immediately match those of state and local health departments.
While the variant appears to spread more easily, there's no evidence that it's any more deadly or causes more severe disease, according to CDC. It has also been found in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Experts suspect there could be many more cases in the country and have criticized the US for not doing more genetic sequencing of virus samples to surveil for mutations. On Sunday, a CDC official told CNN the agency plans to more than double the number of samples it sequences over the following two weeks -- with a target of 6,500 per week.
The earliest-known US sample that carried the current version of the variant was taken on December 19 in Florida, according to the genomic database GISAID. However, collection dates are unavailable for all samples.
All staff working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK will be offered a coronavirus vaccine from mid-January to protect against rising cases of the virus nationwide, a press statement from NHS England said on Friday.
Following Monday's rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, NHS England wrote to health trusts across the UK about their plans to vaccinate staff across all NHS services.
They include staff in general practices, pharmacies, dentists, ambulance trusts, volunteers and community-based mental health services.
Previously, only frontline NHS staff were being vaccinated.
“We will be prioritising the nurses, doctors and other frontline staff who continue to work tirelessly, before administering the vaccine to almost all health and social care staff by mid-February,” Ruth May, NHS England's Chief Nursing Officer said.
Vaccinations among NHS staff will be subject to a risk assessment, prioritizing the most in need. It will take into account risk factors including underlying health conditions, face-to-face contact or staff from a Black, Asian or minority background.
Ethnic minorities have a higher coronavirus death rate than their White peers, according to the UK government. People of Bangladeshi ethnicity have around twice the risk of dying from the virus than their White British counterparts, while those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Black Caribbean and other Black ethnicities have between a 10 and 50% higher risk of death.
The NHS announcement comes after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” in London on Friday due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus -- which is putting the NHS under pressure and adding to the risk of it being overwhelmed.
On Thursday, Khan said the London hospitals may run out of beds in the “next few days."
“This virus is out of control. The NHS is on the cusp of being overwhelmed. There has been no time during this pandemic where I’ve been more concerned than I am today,” Khan said.
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