LONDON, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Another 1,979 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,452,756, according to official figures released Monday.
The country also reported another five coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,684. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
The latest data came as the lockdown further eased on Monday across Britain despite concerns over risks posed by coronavirus variants, especially the one first detected in India.
Also on Monday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in giving lawmakers an update on the country's latest coronavirus situation that Britain has been engaged in a race between the virus and the vaccine and as a nation, "we've taken huge steps forward," he said.
While there can be "further careful progress" taken today, with the easing of restriction, "we must all stay vigilant," he said.
There are fewer than 1,000 people in hospital with COVID at the moment and on average there are nine deaths a day, he added.
From Monday, pubs, bars and restaurants in England are permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums and children's play areas.
Millions in England are allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households.
Meanwhile, all remaining accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen from Monday.
People are also allowed to travel abroad to a number of green-list countries without having to quarantine upon return as the ban on foreign travel has also been lifted.
More than 36.7 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is "still not out of the woods" amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of the pandemic on the European continent.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.