Coronavirus cases go UP for the first time in more than two weeks: 74,799 catch virus – 5 per cent higher than a week ago – but deaths go down by 13 to 75
Britain’s Covid cases have risen with a total of 74,799 new cases reported today.
Department of Health bosses reported a further cases 74,799 cases today, an increase of 3,875 on the total number of cases reported last Sunday.
Meanwhile, official figures show there was a total of 75 deaths reported today which marked a decline of 14 per cent on last week when there were 88 Covid deaths reported.
It marks the first time the number of Covid cases has gone up for the first time since January 4 when officials reported a 57 per cent increase following the festive season.
Prior to today, official figures reported a drop in the week-on-week cases for 17 days in a row but the downward curve has slowed in the past three days, dropping by just four per cent on Friday.
The latest vaccination figures show that 19,430 first doses were administered yesterday while 42,473 doses were also doled out.
Meanwhile, the NHS also delivered a total of 68,795 boosters, according to the latest figures.
In England, the number of people who have received a jab breached 31million on Friday, with more than 115million doses having been dished out in total since the start of the rollout
Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme, said: ‘The fastest and largest vaccination drive in NHS history continues to hit milestone after milestone and has now delivered an outstanding 115million doses of the Covid vaccine, including almost 31million people with the vital protection of a booster in England.
‘We know that millions of people are overdue their booster by more than four weeks, and I would urge anyone who hasn’t already done so to get boosted as soon as possible.
‘The vaccine remains our best defence against Covid and long Covid, even if you have already had it, and you can grab a jab at one of the hundreds of walk-in sites open each day — from restaurants to stadiums and other community hubs, it has never been easier to get protected.’
It comes as Dominic Raab stood by a compulsory jabs deadline for NHS staff which could see up to 80,000 unvaccinated workers lose their jobs after it comes into force in February as Boris Johnson mulls a a six-month delay.
Boris Johnson is said to be considering kicking the Covid vaccine deadline ‘down the road’ following nationwide protests over the requirement and demands by Tory backbenchers to drop the rule entirely.
However, the Deputy Prime Minister said the jab is needed to ‘protect the most vulnerable in our hospitals’ and avoid ‘putting patients at risk’.
Around 80,000 staff face the sack if they do not get vaccinated, with February 3 marking the last day they can book in for a jab.
The following day, those without jabs will face dismissal warnings and will be asked to work out their notice periods until March 31.
Mr Raab told the BBC: ‘The overwhelming majority have come forward.
‘I do think we continue to call for those who have not been vaccinated to come forward before the deadline.
‘But I think ultimately we have to make sure that we don’t have people putting patients at risk if they’re not vaccinated.’
He added that nine out of 10 NHS staff have come forward to receive their vaccine.
Mr Raab added: ‘We have the resilience because we’ve got nearly 5,000 more doctors, nearly 11,000 more nurses than we did in 2020. The resilience of the NHS is there.’
Meanwhile, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he would not ‘rule out’ recruiting workers who lose their jobs in England.
He told BBC Radio 4: ‘We wouldn’t rule it out but it would depend on what anybody said in an interview when they were applying for a job.
‘We’re not going to make vaccinations mandatory in our NHS, we haven’t in our social care services because we have succeeded by persuasion by getting the vast majority of people who work in our services to do the right thing and take up the protections that vaccination offers.
‘I don’t expect us to go looking for people who have not been vaccinated but if people apply then they would be interviewed in the normal way.’
In London, health workers were seen throwing their scrubs at police officers outside Downing Street (pictured), while others dumped their uniforms on the ground by Trafalgar Square
Protesters march along Regent’s Street holding ‘no vaccine mandates’ signs on Saturday
It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today said Scotland’s mask rules could remain in place for years to come if they help the fight against Covid – as she blasted Boris Johnson‘s decision to axe most restrictions from this week.
The First Minister said that face coverings were ‘not the biggest handicap’ that people were having to endure as the country attempts to recover from Covid.
A range of measures introduced on Boxing Day to deal with the Omicron variant will be scrapped from tomorrow, but laws making masks mandatory in shops and other settings with remain.
In contrast, the Prime Minister has unveiled a bonfire of almost all restrictions in England by March, including guidance on masks.
Asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme today if she can see people wearing masks for ‘months or years to come’, in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I hope not. I don’t want any of these measures to be in place for any longer than is necessary.
‘But masks … are something we can do. None of us enjoy wearing them but they are perhaps not the biggest handicap to endure in order to try to stem transmission.
‘So while they can make a difference to controlling the virus then i think it is something we should do.
Again I would suggest that it is England that is the outlier here, not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or many countries across the world.’