Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there had been an average of 37,258 cases of Covid in the past week.
Speaking at a coronavirus briefing on Downing Street, Hancock said the NHS was under “a lot of pressure”. Today alone 592 more deaths were reported.
He described the work of medical professionals as “relentless” during the pandemic, adding that it was the “duty of all of us” to support them.
During the briefing, Mr. Hancock shared some details about the vaccination process and described it as a “truly national effort”.
His remarks come just hours after Boris Johnson spoke of hopes for schools to reopen in England.
“There’s nothing I want to do more than reopen schools. I’ve struggled to keep schools open as long as possible,” said Johnson.
“We want the schools to come back as soon as possible. We want to do this in a way that is consistent with fighting the epidemic and reducing the infection rate.”
The prime minister’s official spokesman said the government will look into the data “and that will provide information on what we may or may not be able to relax from February 15”.
He added, “It has always been our intention to ease restrictions on where we can from the 15th and schools are obviously our top priority.”
Mr Johnson said, “I think now that this massive achievement has been made in introducing this vaccination program, people want us to make sure we don’t throw this away through premature relaxation and another big wave of infections. ”
Amid concerns over increasing support for Scottish independence, Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted Britain is stronger together in the fight against coronavirus.
He told the Downing Street press conference that the Scottish Ambulance Service asked for additional help over the weekend and that other nations had “stepped forward”.
“Our health systems across the UK routinely work closely together and provide support when needed. From vaccines to emergency services, we’re stronger together. And Britain is stronger together in the fight against this pandemic, ”Hancock said during a press conference on Downing Street.
He said there were “early signs that the measures we are taking are working” with the rise in the number of cases slowing and falling in some areas such as London and Scotland.