Matt Hancock said he wanted the public to enjoy a “great British summer” as he set out details of the mass rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking from 10 Downing Street today (Jan. 11), the Minister of Health said the government aims to get life back to normal “as soon as possible”.
He announced that the number of people in the UK given a first dose is close to 2.3 million.
These include two-fifths of those over 80, and “almost a quarter of elderly care home residents” have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
But Hancock warned the country about the “worst point” of the pandemic – and urged people to remain vigilant against the spread of the virus.
He also said the government will introduce additional restrictions if necessary – the new variant is “highly contagious”.
There are now 13,000 more Covid-19 patients in the hospital than on Christmas Day, said the National Medical Director for England.
Professor Stephen Powis said: “Less than a fortnight after 2021, the number of people hospitalized with Covid has already increased by a third, an increase of around 8,000.”
He said infection and death rates remain “persistently high” in hospitals that are under “significant and persistent” pressure.
He added that even in the southwest, more people are in hospital than across the country at the end of September, and the country still hasn’t seen the full effects of easing restrictions on Christmas.
Professor Powis urged everyone to abide by the rules and to “maintain focus and resilience” as a country.