Coronavirus news – live: One in eight people in England have had Covid as intensive care units ‘overwhelmed’ – The Independent

‘Don’t blow it now,’ Hancock warns as four million now have vaccine

A further 1,610 people have died after a positive test for Covid-19, Public Health England has confirmed – the highest daily increase in coronavirus related fatalities in the UK since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile current lockdown restrictions in Scotland will remain in place until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon announced after holding a cabinet meeting earlier.

The first minister said schools will remain closed during the lockdown extension, while in England a government adviser warned it was still unclear whether schools there would be able to reopen in February. 

Dr Jenny Harries, a medical adviser from the UK government’s health department, also said it was likely pupils would return at different times in different parts of England because of uneven progress in bringing down infections.

Earlier, the Office for National Statistics released data estimating  one in eight people in England had been infected by Covid-19 by December last year.

Figures estimating a total of 5.4 million people, or 12.1 per cent of the population, would have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies by last month were released as Matt Hancock — who revealed he was self isolating after a test and trace alert — urged the public not to “blow it” by relaxing adherence to social distancing rules as more people are vaccinated.

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Vaccine supply chain workers to receive jabs

Up to 2,000 people working in roles in the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain will be offered jabs to help ensure the UK gets the doses it needs to protect the most vulnerable, the Government has announced.

The announcement follows a plea from AstraZeneca to protect workers involved with the manufacture of the vaccine to ensure the supply chain runs smoothly.

The Department for Health and Social Care said staff working for Pfizer and AstraZeneca involved in crucial supply chain roles in the UK will be among those eligible for the jab.

Vincent Wood19 January 2021 17:17

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400 military personnel deployed to fight virus alongside nurses and doctors in England

NHS England said 400 military personnel are now working alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals across London and the Midlands.

They are a mix of combat medical technicians and soldiers performing general duties including helping on wards, operating as family liaisons between clinical teams and patients’ relatives, as well as estates and porter duties.

In a statement, NHS England said: “The NHS is grateful to the 400 military personnel working in hospitals in the Midlands and London, alongside doctors, nurses and others who have returned to the NHS front line and tens of thousands of St John Ambulance volunteers working across the country.

“The NHS has 50,000 more staff now working in the health service than a year ago, all working round the clock to respond to unprecedented pressure on the NHS.”

Vincent Wood19 January 2021 17:02

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Vaccinations up by 204,076 on Monday

Alongside the latest Covid-19 fatalities we also have a slightly more positive figure – the number of vaccinations administered.

Public Health England said a total of 4,266,577 people in the UK have received the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 204,076 on Monday’s figures.

Vincent Wood19 January 2021 16:45

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‘Awful. Horrific. Devastating’

Here is Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth on the latest recorded fatalities

Vincent Wood19 January 2021 16:37

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UK records most daily deaths since pandemic began

A further 1,610 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test – the highest number of deaths reported on a single day since the pandemic began.

Vincent Wood19 January 2021 16:23

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China’s quarantine camp sees 1,000 rooms built in four days

Workers recently began building a mass quarantine camp in the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang on amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the northeast of the country.

The camp is planned to have 3,000 prefabricated rooms to accomodate the growing numbers of people being ordered to quarantine. One-third of these, around 1,000, have already been built in the first three days of construction.

Shijiazhuang is one of the three cities in northeastern China considered to be high-risk due to the current case surge. The city of 11 million has seen more than 700 cases in the new year so far.

The Shijiazhuang facility will be able to house several thousand people when completed

(AP)

Liam James19 January 2021 16:07

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How close is UK to herd immunity?

The government’s short-lived plan to allow the virus to spread through 60 per cent of the population in order to build a “herd immunity” looks even more reckless and ill-informed in the light of new data estimating only around one in 10 people in the UK (rising to 12.1 per cent in England) had caught coronavirus by December. Had the policy been pursued, it seems there would have been many more deaths with no guarantee the herd would even grow immune.

(Statista)

Statista prepared this graph for The Independent.

Liam James19 January 2021 15:50

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Schools will remain closed in Scotland lockdown extension, Sturgeon confirms

Schools will remain closed to the majority of children until mid-February, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed as she announced the extension of lockdown restrictions in Scotland.

“The cabinet decided today that — except for vulnerable and key worker children — school and nursery premises will remain closed until mid-February,” the first minister told MSPs.

“If it is at all possible, as I very much hope it will be, to begin even a phased return to in-school learning in mid-February, we will.”

Liam James19 January 2021 15:31

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Labour calls for Gavin Williamson to resign after ‘failing children throughout pandemic’

Labour has called for Gavin Williamson to resign as education secretary, after accusing him of “failing children throughout the pandemic”.

Speaking in parliament, Labour’s Wes Streeting slammed the government for “having to be dragged to do the right thing” over free school meals in the past and last year’s exam results controversy – which initially saw tens of thousands of grades initially downgraded by an algorithm before a government U-turn.

He said it had taken nine months to deliver 750,000 devices to schools for home learning, which still “falls so far short” of what is needed.

Read the full story from Zoe Tidman here:

Liam James19 January 2021 15:19

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Sturgeon announces Scotland lockdown extension

Scotland will remain in lockdown until at least the middle of February, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The first minister told the Scottish parliament: “It is for all these reasons that the cabinet decided this morning to maintain the restrictions which are currently in place.

“That means that the lockdown restrictions — including the strict stay-at-home requirement — will remain in place across mainland Scotland and some island communities until at least the middle of February,” she said, adding the situation will be reviewed on 2 February.

Liam James19 January 2021 15:00

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