Covid death toll hits new devastating milestone in highest Saturday increase of pandem | UK | News


Patrick Vallance says UK will face ‘high death numbers’ for weeks

A further 1,295 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, new Government figures have shown. It takes the death toll by this measure to 88,590. A further 41,346 cases have been reported. 

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 104,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 41,346 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

But despite the new figures, the number of vaccinations in the UK up to 15 January has now reached 3,559,179.

This is up from 3,234,946 yesterday.

Covid death toll hits new devastating milestone in highest Saturday increase of pandemic

Covid death toll hits new devastating milestone in highest Saturday increase of pandemic (Image: GETTY)

A concerning new strain of coronavirus is likely to already be in the UK despite the Government imposing a travel ban from affected countries, a leading epidemiologist has warned.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he would find it “unusual” if the second of two new variants from Brazil was not already present, despite it not yet being detected.

The first variant has a small number of mutations and eight genomically confirmed cases of this variant have been identified in the UK.

The second, which has been detected in Manaus and in travellers arriving in Japan, has not been detected in the UK so far.

READ MORE: Covid new strain symptoms: One in five experiencing ‘uncommon’ symptom

Boris Johnson updated the nation on the new travel restrictions

Boris Johnson updated the nation on the new travel restrictions (Image: GETTY)

The Government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde on Thursday in response to the emergence of the new variant, having previously banned travel from South Africa because of a new Covid strain.

In addition, all quarantine-free travel into the UK will be suspended on Monday in a bid to keep out other variants.

The new policy means arrivals from every destination will need to self-isolate for 10 days, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.

Prof Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In terms of the South African one, we had imported cases already by the time we put in additional restrictions for South African travellers.

The UK has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic

The UK has been badly hit by a new covid strain (Image: EXPRESS)

“For the Brazilian one… I don’t think there is evidence that we’ve imported cases of the Manaus strain, as far as I’m aware at least, but it is likely that we probably have quite honestly.

“We are one of the most connected countries in the world so I would find it unusual if we hadn’t imported some cases into the UK.”

Labour accused the Government of “closing the door after the horse has bolted”.

They said the announcement was too late to have stopped the arrival of “worrying” strains.

Boris Johnson warns of threat of coronavirus to younger people

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines UK, said the first three months of the year were typically a slow period for the sector, but called for plans to relax rules during the peak spring and summer period.

He told BBC Radio: “Easter is a date that we have got in mind for when we can start to have an aviation sector again. If we don’t start bringing revenue into the sector, we’re going to be in a very difficult place indeed.”

He added: “Airlines have been staying in business by taking on billions of pounds of debt which will need to be paid back.”

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “vital” to take extra measures now “when day by day we are making such strides in protecting the population”.

He said: “It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.”

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