Britain has weathered its deadliest week in the pandemic as the country's seven-day average is above what it was when it was first locked.
Another 529 Brits have died after testing positive for Covid as the daily death toll increases by nearly a third in just one week.
And today's number puts the average daily deaths of the past week at a grim 931 – just days after Britain recorded a total of 80,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
During the first wave of Covid-19 early last year, the highest 7-day average – between April 6 and April 12 – was 920.
In a positive sign that the UK's rising case load could ease, 46,169 people tested positive for the virus today – a 20 percent decrease in one week.
Today's total number of cases marks the first number under 50,000 since December 28th.
It comes after Boris Johnson met with cabinet colleagues last night to discuss an even tougher lockdown to get a grip on the new variant of Covid that is rapidly spreading across the UK.
Proposed measures include a ban on extended bladders, the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors, and restrictions on movement.
A source in Whitehall reported that MailOnline ministers had spoken about people being allowed to leave the house only once a week – although No. 10 today denied it was on the cards and that the focus was on strengthening enforcement and Police work lay.
Mr Hancock told the Downing Street briefing tonight that people need to obey the rules, adding that "stronger enforcement is needed" but it is about "how everyone acts".
And he flatly ruled out getting rid of support bladders, emphasizing that they are important for vulnerable people who live alone.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that stores be in the line of fire, stressing that everyone in supermarkets must wear masks and follow disposable systems.
It comes after Boris Johnson (pictured today) met with cabinet colleagues last night to discuss an even tougher lockdown to get a grip on the new variant of Covid that is rapidly spreading across the UK
He appealed to people not to stop and chat with friends they meet outside of their homes – and also made it clear that sitting on park benches is not recommended during "training sessions".
Meanwhile, Downing Street couldn't tell if people could get a take-out coffee and drink it while out walking with someone in another household.
Limiting people from different "bubbles" to exercise together also appears to be in the pipeline as the government seeks ways to reduce transmission.
And in a detailed tightening, the government changed the definition of the term “close contact” so that it applies when people have been in the vicinity for more than 15 minutes over a whole day. Previously, the rule was 15 minutes of close contact at a time.
The people on what is now Exmouth Beach in Devon when Ministers told people not to sit on benches. It is not known if they came from the same household
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was allowed to ride a bike seven miles from where you lived, although he also insists that people "stay".
Matt Hancock announced today that 2.3 million people in the UK have now received a Covid vaccine as the roll-out hits a rate of around 200,000 bumps per day.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged to hit 200,000 doses a day by Friday, which means the target appears to have been met early after the number of people receiving their first dose of the vaccine fell from 1.3 within a week Sunday, January 3rd, has almost doubled to 2.6 m today.
The sign that vaccinations are increasing as planned is welcome news, as is the fact that the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus has fallen today.
Health Department officials announced that an additional 46,169 people received positive test results yesterday, down 20 percent in one week and the first reading below 50,000 since December 28.
Ministers today released the plan for the grand introduction of Covid vaccines in the UK, promising to distribute 2 million puffs a week in 2,700 centers across the country by the end of January.
With a successful vaccination campaign number 10, the only hope of ever ending the perennial cycle of hard lockdowns, officials have come under increasing pressure to make it clear how to protect the UK from coronavirus.
Matt Hancock said the plan – which includes setting up 50 mass vaccination centers in football stadiums and other major venues – "maps our path back to normal".
As part of the plans, teachers and other key staff could be added to the priority queue. Sir Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, claimed today there was a "strong argument" to give them nudges as soon as the first high priority groups, which include everyone over 70, adults with underlying medical conditions, NHS staff and nursing home staff belong, had their bumps.
"Roving" vaccination teams already in use in nursing homes could be asked to go door-to-door in districts with low admission rates.
The document adds that by the end of January everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site. And for those outside of that basin, in very rural areas, the vaccine will be delivered to them via mobile teams.
So far, the UK vaccination program has been plagued by supply and staff shortages, logistical problems and bureaucratic obstacles that have hampered its expansion.
No10 also suggested today that they could set up a round-the-clock jab program if the public wanted – but that it hadn't happened yet because there was no demand for it. However, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi blamed a supply shortage for the lack of 24/7 bursts.
Ministers said an army of over 80,000 trained health workers would be involved in rolling out the vaccine, and more than 200,000 community volunteers said they will help with the non-clinical side of the program.
During a visit to Bristol City Football Club's Ashton Gate Stadium, which has been converted into a vaccine super center, the Prime Minister told reporters: “We cannot be complacent.
"The worst thing now would be if we allowed the success of launching a vaccination program to create any kind of complacency about the state of the pandemic."
Chief Medical Officer Prof. Whitty went on the air to highlight the scale of the threat. He said 30,000 people are in the hospital, compared to the high of 18,000 in April.
He urged people to remember that "any unnecessary contact" is an opportunity for the virus to spread.
He insisted that while the NHS is in "the most dangerous situation anyone can remember", vaccines mean the UK can be back to normal in "months not years" – but he warned the situation is far from it is.
Prof Whitty said the UK could avoid a tougher lockdown if people properly followed the rules as he described the Covid-19 death toll as "absolutely appalling".
He insisted it was very dangerous to meet someone from a different household, adding that the coronavirus "doesn't care if you meet your friend or family".
He told BBC Breakfast that the UK was currently at the worst of the pandemic that began last March and was asked if life would ever return to normal.
Prof. Whitty replied: "I am confident that at some point we will come back to life, there is no doubt, this is the life we all want to lead."
Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, went on the air to highlight the scale of the threat. He said 30,000 people are in the hospital, compared to the high of 18,000 in April
Once the vaccines are in place, he said, “People will be able to lift the restrictions.
"It won't happen all at once, and at some point, hopefully, you will return to a life that is basically exactly the same as before."
"We are a long way from that at the moment."
He said ministers would "always look at" whether the lockdown could be tightened, but all Britons would have to comply with the rules to "help protect the NHS".
Prof. Whitty added that kindergartens are still open as the risk to children from Covid is "very low" and it is important that parents can continue to go to work.
An ambulance arrives at Royal London Hospital today, warning again of the spread of the virus
But he urged people to "minimize their social contact," if possible, to "double" the lockdown rules, saying the new surge in the virus was "everyone's problem".
Prof. Whitty added, "Tinkering with the rules may be useful, but the most important thing is that everyone obey the spirit of the rules."
He also said the rest of this month will likely be the worst part of the pandemic as the new highly infectious variants of the virus rage across the UK.
Prof. Whitty said, “At the peak we had in April last year, we had about 18,000 people in the NHS. We currently have over 30,000 employees in the NHS as of yesterday.
"A week ago, all four of the chief physicians for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said, 'This will be a major crisis for the NHS if we don't evade. "
& # 39; This new variant really drives things forward in a way that the old variant – which was already very bad – couldn't.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Coronavirus (t) Coronavirus Lockdowns (t) NHS