BORIS Johnson revealed today that 1.3million people have now had the Covid vaccine – with a quarter of all those over 80 having received their first dose.
The PM promised today daily updates on the number of people who have had the vaccine to keep the nation in the loop on the fight against the virus.
He attempted to reassure Brits that his plan to vaccinate everyone was on track, just hours after he ordered everyone to stay at home.
Speaking this evening, he promised that the Government’s new strategy to give out as many first doses as possible was the right one – and would save lives.
He said: “With Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca combined – as of this afternoon – we have now vaccinated over 1.1 million people in England and over 1.3 million across the UK.
“And that includes more than 650,000 people over 80 – which is 23 per cent of all the over 80s in England.
“And that means that nearly 1 in 4 of one of the most vulnerable groups will have in 2 to 3 weeks – all of them – a significant degree of immunity.”
He said that it was vital to consider the importance of the huge progress so far.
The average age of Covid fatalities is in the 80s, he added.
He appeared alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance this evening, who revealed that one in fifty people now have Covid – more than one million Brits.
Cases have soared by 70 per cent in just one week – and are now up by 60,916 today alone.
In England alone, some 27,000 people are in hospital with COVID, 40% more than during the first peak in April.
Boris has promised to get jabs to the 13million most vulnerable people in Britain by the middle of February.
It will start with people in care homes, followed by all those over 80, then more NHS workers.
After that the over 75s will get the jab, and then those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who have had to sheild.
Only after that batch of people are vaccinated will he consider lifting lockdown measures.
At the moment just over a million have been done.
The NHs needs to reach two million people a week to reach the PM’s goal, but only 300,000 are currently being given out at the moment.
The efforts will be ramped up with more vaccination centres coming online this week – and with the rollout of the Oxford jab to GPs it will be easier to do.
It came as:
- England entered another lockdown today – with schools shut and people told to stay at home
- Brits started panic buying yet again with shelves stripped bare
- International travellers are set to be told to have a negative coronavirus test to get into the UK as Britain toughens up its borders
- Experts said even this stricter lockdown might not be enough to curb the spread of the new strain
- Hospitals continued to get busier as the NHS was just weeks from being overwhelmed
- Gavin Williamson will give a statement to MPs in the Commons on schools and exams tomorrow – as Michael Gove said they would be cancelled
The lockdown will legally kick in tonight at midnight, but people have been told to start staying home from today.
But it may be extended into March if the vaccine rollout is too slow, Michael Gove warned today.
The Cabinet minister insisted that the Oxford and Pfizer jabs were the key to the lockdown ending.
Mr Gove said today that the lockdown may have to continue if the deadline is not met.
Progress would be reviewed in the final week of lockdown – the 15th of February – but March was the point at which restrictions would likely be lifted, he said.
He told Sky News: “We can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22.
“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.
“I think it is right to say that as we enter March we should be able to lift some of these restrictions but not necessarily all.”
Restrictions won’t all be lifted at once, with them “progressively” loosened, he added.
STAY AT HOME
Last night the PM urged Brits to follow the third nationwide lockdown immediately, and once again put Brits under effective house arrest – resurrecting the ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan’.
And it was the new variant – which is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible – which has forced him to act.
Mr Johnson said people will only be allowed out of their homes to buy essential food and medicine supplies, attend medical appointments, exercise, work if it is critical and cannot be done from home and to provide care for a vulnerable person.
He also told the nation:
- People can only meet up for outside exercise with one other person from another household
- All outdoor team sports are banned except for elite sportsmen and kids still at school
- Playgrounds will remain open but outdoor gyms, tennis courts and golf courses will be closed once again
- Schools are set to stay shut across the nation until at least February half-term
- Nurseries, childcare centres and special schools will remain open
- Students will not be able to return to university and will be told to study remotely from their current residency until at least the middle of next month.
- GCSEs, A-Levels and some other exams are set to be cancelled – with further announcements due to come
- Pubs, restaurants, bars and most venues were already ordered to shut in every part of England apart from the Isles of Scilly last week and will remain closed for at least another month
- In a further blow to the battered industry, the new nationwide curbs will ban takeaway pints being served amid fears over punters clustering outside pubs. Food and non-alcohol takeaways will continue to be permitted
- In a boost for lonely Brits, support bubbles will remain in place – allowing single households to mix indoors with one other household
Police will have legal powers to enforce the rules but fines will not be increased despite a drop in compliance.
Free school meals will continue to go to those who need them as schools stay shut, and more laptops will be dished out to kids across the nation who haven’t got the ability to learn online at home.
And holidays will effectively be cancelled as people have to legally remain at home.