The UK has recorded 34,460 new COVID-19 cases and 166 more deaths in the last 24-hour period, with 7,567 people currently in hospital with the disease, according to the latest available data.

The latest figures from the government compare to 31,564 infections and 203 fatalities on Tuesday.

This time last week, 30,597 cases and 201 deaths were reported.

On this day last year, there were 1,636 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the UK.

The number of patients on mechanical ventilation beds currently stands at 943.

Since the start of the pandemic, 135,621 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.

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Another 26,989 people were given their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, taking the total to 48,644,692 (89.5% of people aged over 16).

A further 43,433 people were given their second dose, meaning 44,556,005 are now fully inoculated (82%).

It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs the government is “working as quickly as possible” to scrap PCR tests for fully vaccinated international travellers.

The government recently announced its intention for people who have had both doses of the vaccine to be able to use cheaper lateral flow tests instead.

The transport secretary said he does not yet have an exact date for the removal of PCR testing, but stressed the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is “aware” of the October half-term when families will be planning to go on holiday.

Meanwhile, scientists at the Rosaline Franklin Institute in the UK have found llamas produce a unique kind of antibody, known as nanobodies, which they believe could offer new treatment against COVID-19, administered as a nasal spray.

They identified short chains of molecules that can reduce signs of the virus when given to other infected animals.

Public Health England hailed the research as offering “significant potential for both the prevention and treatment of COVID-19” and added that the nanobodies “are among the most effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralising agents we have ever tested”.

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