The latest data on monthly deaths found dementia was responsible for the largest number of fatalities in England in March, causing 10.1% of all deaths. Meanwhile, heart disease was cited as the main cause of death in Wales, at 11.8% of all recorded fatalities. Coronavirus was relegated to the third leading cause of death in each of the two nations.

The data release comes as England and Wales both emerge from strict lockdowns, easing restrictions under which non-essential shops were closed and people were asked to stay at home.

Despite some concern about the potential impact of newer Covid strains, the four UK nations have decided it’s safe to return to a sense of domestic normality due to the combined impact of the vaccination rollout and lockdown restrictions that limited social interaction. More than 11 million people across the UK have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to date.

While the UK has managed to reduce the soaring infections that prompted lockdown in November, regional authorities are still wary of new variants, using surge testing when a mutated case is discovered to identify those at risk in affected areas.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), warned that, while progress is positive, the country can’t be complacent and a “summer surge” could be seen without careful easing of lockdown measures and compliance by citizens.