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Number of new swine flu cases drops

Government figures show a drop in the number of new swine flu patients in England.

Last week, an estimated 5,000 people were newly diagnosed with the H1N1 virus compared with around 11,000 new cases in the previous week.

England's known death toll as a result of the virus is now 57, up from 54 last week.

Out of the 218 patients receiving hospital treatment for swine flu, 31 are in intensive care. Data from last week showed 263 people were in hospital, with 30 in intensive care.

Scotland has reported six deaths, while there has been one each in Wales and Northern Ireland. In total, the UK has lost 65 lives as a result of the virus.

Pharmaceutical firm Baxter has delivered around 200,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine for use in the UK.

In October after the vaccine is licensed, people in at-risk groups - like those suffering from asthma or diabetes - are expected to receive the first vaccinations.

Since its launch in July, the government's National Pandemic Flu Service for England has helped distribute more than 460,000 packets of the antiviral Tamiflu.

Many more have been given out through GP surgery.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Pandemic Flu Service for England