COVID-19Coronavirus Matt Hancock
The UK has reported another 5,341 coronvirus cases, down on yesterday – but significantly up on the same day last week. A further four deaths have also been recorded within 28 days of a positive COVID test – that’s down from 13 on Saturday and six last Sunday. Sunday’s cases compare to 5,765 on Saturday and 3,240 a week ago.
There were 203,613 first doses administered on Saturday, taking the total to 40,333,231, and 473,378 more second jabs were given, taking that total to 27,661,353.
The health secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme the link between cases and serious illness had been weakened by the vaccine rollout – and urged people who have had their first jabs to book their second.
Mr Hancock said critical to re-opening on 21 June is whether the four tests set by the government have been met: that vaccine deployment continues successfully; evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths; infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations; and that assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new “variants of concern”.
The new COVID-19 variant, also known as the Delta variant, is a worry for scientists because it is more transmissible than the Kent (Alpha) strain, leaving the easing of social distancing on 21 June in the balance.
Dame Anne Johnson, the president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said next week will be “absolutely critical” in looking at data on infections.