THERE has been a small decrease in the number of confirmed Covid cases recorded in Somerset West and Taunton.

Between Wednesday, January 5, and Tuesday, January 11, a total of 1,709 people had a confirmed positive test result in the district – a fall of 5.8 per cent compared to the previous seven-day period.

Four other Somerset districts (North Somerset, South Somerset, Mendip, and Bath and North East Somerset) have seen decreases in the number of confirmed cases in the last seven days, while Sedgemoor saw a rise of 3.9 per cent.

The statistics for Somerset generally reflect the latest UK data from the Government’s coronavirus dashboard, which shows a 13.1 per cent decrease in the number of confirmed positive tests.

A total of 1.1 million people tested positive for Covid between January 5 and January 11 across the UK, and 120,821 positive tests were reported yesterday.

However, there has been an increase in the number of deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test across the UK in the last seven days.

1,660 deaths were reported within 28 days of a positive Covid test between January 5 and January 11 – a rise of 742 (80.8 per cent) from the previous seven-day period.

Two deaths were reported in Somerset West and Taunton within 28 days of a positive Covid test between January 5 and January 11.

In the south west region, there were 921 patients in hospital with coronavirus yesterday.

Of those, 37 patients were in hospital beds with mechanical ventilators to help them breathe.

In the last three weeks, 14,855 people received a booster or a third vaccine dose in the district, bringing the total number of people in Somerset West and Taunton to get a third shot to 98,544.

This means 67 per cent of people aged 12 and over have now received a booster.

Across the UK, 35.7 million people have now had a booster or third jab – 62 per cent of over-12s.

Data from the UK Health Security Agency shows boosters are 90 per cent effective against admission to hospital from the Omicron variant for over-65s.

Protection for those with two doses dropped to about 70 per cent after three months and to 50 per cent after six months.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s chairman of Covid-19 immunisation, said: "The current data show the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups.

"For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed."

This afternoon, Boris Johnson will make his first public appearance since the leak of an email from his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, inviting Downing Street staff to a "bring your own booze" gathering in the Number 10 garden to "make the most of the lovely weather" in May 2020.

Mr Johnson has not said if he was present at the event, despite reports he and his fiancée (now wife) Carrie Johnson were among around 30 people to attend.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has tested negative for Covid for two days in a row, allowing him to leave isolation and face Mr Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions at 12pm.