Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed the 15 million most vulnerable in the UK have now been offered a jab. The Government hit the target of immun
Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed the 15 million most vulnerable in the UK have now been offered a jab. The Government hit the target of immunising priority groups one to four on Saturday, two days ahead schedule.
Speaking yesterday Mr Johnson said he would tonight “set out in full the details of the progress we’ve made with vaccinating”.
The Prime Minister is expected to hold a televised Downing Street coronavirus briefing at 5pm.
As well as hailing the rapid rollout of the vaccine to date, Mr Johnson will tonight outline plans to now give the jab to all over-50s and “clinically at risk” adults, estimated to be a total of 17 million Brits, by the end of April.
After this date all adults in the first phase of the immunisation programme will have received at least one dose of the coronavirus antidote, at which point deaths from the virus are expected to drop by 99 percent.
The number of coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths have dropped rapidly in recent weeks.
Yesterday 10,972 new cases confirmed by a positive test were recorded, a 28.1 percent drop in a week.
There were also 258 more Covid-related deaths registered on Sunday, a fall of 25.5 percent over the past seven days.
However, ministers have said it is still too early to tell if the plunging number of cases and deaths is due to the vaccination programme or because of the lockdown measures in place across the UK.
Speaking this morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The signs are that, thankfully, the number of deaths is falling and has been coming down for a few weeks.
“It is too early to say whether that is directly due to the vaccination programme yet.
“It is too early to be able to measure the direct impact but of course we are looking at that and we can see overall that the number of cases is coming down sharply, the number in hospitals is coming down but it is still too high – at the latest count there were 23,000 people in hospital with Covid.”
Mr Johnson warned against complacency yesterday as he said the UK still had a long way to go before the disease was defeated.
He said: “No open is resting on their laurels.
“In fact, the first million or so letters offering appointments to the over 65s are already landing on doorsteps.
“We’ve still got a long way to go and there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road.
“But after all we’ve achieved, I know we can go forward with great confidence.”
Starting today scientists and ministers will carry out a week-long review of the data available to look into the vaccines have on reducing the spread of the virus ahead of the Prime Minister setting out his roadmap out of lockdown next Monday.
The Government is under pressure from Tory backbenchers to announce a swift timetable for reducing coronavirus restrictions due to the impact lockdown has had on the economy and people’s lives.
Over the weekend more than 60 lockdown-sceptics in the Covid Research Group (CRG) signed a letter calling for Mr Johnson to commit to a firm timetable, starting with the re-opening of schools on March 8 and ending with the lifting of all legal controls by the end of April.
The Prime Minister has refused to publicly give details of his roadmap, saying ministers would need to study the data “very, very hard” for evidence that the rollout of the vaccines is driving down the incidence of the disease, as the numbers of cases fell.
While he was “optimistic” that a “cautious” easing of lockdown measures would be possible, he said that he did not want to be forced into a “reverse ferret” if there was a fresh resurgence of the disease.