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The Government said a further 1,820 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 93,290. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 110,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK. The Government also said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 38,905 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,505,754.
The latest figures come as Government data up to January 19 showed that of the 5,070365 jabs given in the UK so far, 4,609,740 were first doses – a rise of 343,163 on the previous day’s figures.
Some 460,625 were second doses, an increase of 3,759 on figures released the previous day.
The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 281,490.
The Government said a further 1,820 people had died of Covid
Based on the latest figures, an average of 399,625 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government’s target of 15 million first doses by February 15.
Cases are down again compared to seven days earlier. Last Wednesday saw 47,525 cases reported.
But the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said vaccines are not doing enough “heavy lifting” at the moment and case rates need to drop further before the Government can think of easing restrictions,
Sir Patrick added the country still has a long way to go in battling coronavirus – describing scenes in some hospitals as a “war zone” – but added there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.
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It comes as calculations by the PA news agency show the Government needs to hit an average of 384,000 first doses per day to reach a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable by February 15.
New figures released on Wednesday show the total number of people given first doses in Great Britain now stands at nearly 4.5 million.
The Government has pledged that all those in the top priority groups, including the over-70s and frontline health and social care workers, will have received an offer to have had their first dose of the jab given to them by mid-February.
In a Q&A with Sky News viewers, Sir Patrick was asked if the lockdown would be kept in place if infection figures stayed the same or dropped.
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“The advice at the moment is vaccines are not going to do the heavy lifting for us at the moment, anywhere near it,” he said.
“This is about, I’m afraid, the restrictive measures which we’re all living under and carrying on with those.
“The numbers are nowhere near where they need to be at the moment, they need to come down quite a lot further – we need to make sure we stick with it.
“You go for a walk in the park or something, life looks normal; you go for a walk in a hospital, if you work in a hospital, you will see life not looking normal at all.
“This is a really difficult, dangerous situation we’re in, and we need to get the numbers down, so I don’t see a release of these measures as being a sensible thing to do in the short term.”
He said it was hoped that as the vaccine took effect and cases dropped, it would be possible to start a gradual release of some of the measures.
But he warned: “I think it’s important to recognise this is not going to be a sort of big bang, ‘great, take the lid off, everything’s fine, we can all go back to normal’.
“This is going to be a slow release, monitoring carefully, understanding the effects.”
Sir Patrick said that through the summer and into winter “things will be a lot better” because a large proportion of the population will have been vaccinated.
But regarding the current situation in the NHS, he said: “This is very, very bad at the moment, with enormous pressure, and in some cases it looks like a war zone in terms of the things that people are having to deal with.”
In a direct message to the public, Sir Patrick said: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, science is going to get us out of this, and we’re on the way.
“We need to carry on doing what we’re doing and a big thank you to everybody.
“It’s really tough to keep these restrictions in place, it’s really tough on children, it’s really tough on all of us.
“Please keep going because if we can keep this under control, if we can drive these numbers down, that’s what’s going to get us out of this sooner.”