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Swine flu deaths up while new cases fall

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The number of swine flu deaths has risen to 142 in England, 21 in Wales, 38 in Scotland and 13 in Northern Ireland, bringing the UK total to 214.

Meanwhile, the number of new cases in England and Wales fell from 64,000 to 53,000, and from 21,500 to 21,200 in Scotland.

The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said it is too early to say if the pandemic had peaked, and that herd immunity among young people could be bringing down the numbers.

He also credited the newly rolled-out vaccination programme, which has been shunned by some sections of the public, including pregnant women, over safety fears.

He said: “We are out to save lives and we are out to fight this pandemic all the way. When we have got the weapons to deal with it, I think we should use them.

“Patients are dying, parents around the country are standing by intensive care beds with their children in life-or-death situations.”

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