“I’m very glad to report that, as of midnight last night, we have now vaccinated 4,062,501 people across the United Kingdom, and we’re currently vaccinating more than double the rate—per person per day—than any other country in Europe,” Hancock said at a press conference held in Downing Street.
We’ve vaccinated 4,062,501 people across the UK
Latest data show we’ve now vaccinated more than half of those over 80, & half of our elderly care home residents pic.twitter.com/8ttebNW9MX
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) January 18, 2021
He said the UK is on track to deliver the government’s plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, which account for 88 percent of all deaths from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Earlier on Monday, Hancock announced that, now that more than half of all over-80s have got their first jab, COVID-19 vaccines are now being rolled out to those aged 70 and over, aiming to reach the whole group by the middle of next month.
But hospital admissions and deaths due to the pandemic are still rising, and are at record levels.
There are currently 37,475 people in UK hospitals with the CCP virus, with one hospital admission reported every 30 seconds, Hancock said.
Monday’s official data show a further 599 people have died within 28 days of a positive test.
But he said it will not be a “Big Bang” and the restrictions are more likely to be relaxed in a phased manner back to the regional tiered approach which was in place before the current lockdown began on Jan. 6.
There are fears that new variants of the CCP virus may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last Friday that the government had to further tighten travel restrictions by closing all its “travel corridors” with other countries, in order to protect the country against “the risk of as yet unidentified new strains” coming from overseas which might turn out to be resistant to vaccines.
The measure, which came into force at 4 a.m. local time on Monday, means all passengers must have a recent negative CCP virus test and transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival. The isolation period lasts for ten days, unless the passenger tests negative after five days.
Simon Veazey contributed to this report.