Modelling has shown that a fifth of the England population may have had the coronavirus prompting calls to toughen Covid restrictions.
The emergence of the new Covid variant with hospital cases and deaths escalating has put the NHS “under the greatest pressure it ever has been,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
According to the government`s track-and-trace programme, the true number of people who have contracted the coronavirus maybe five times as high as the total cases recorded. Despite the rapid increase in the number of infections across the country, people are mixing more than they did during the first lockdown highlighting restrictions are not strict enough.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said the current lockdown restrictions “may not be tough enough. Quite a lot of people are surprised that primary schools are closed and that nurseries aren’t closed.”
The government`s Covid-19 UK vaccines delivery plan will be set out at a No 10 press conference by Matt Hancock on Monday “so the public can be assured of the time, effort and resources that have gone and will go into ensuring we protect the British people from the scourge of this virus”.
About 2 million people – including a third of over- ’80s had already been vaccinated, and the opening of the mass vaccination sites is meant to accelerate the process, the health secretary said.
According to the priority groups drawn by the Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI), by the autumn everyone above the age of 50 should be vaccinated and those over 16 with serious health conditions should also be vaccinated by spring.
Starmer said the priority list should be reviewed after the vaccine has been rolled out to the first four groups.