Covid cases have risen by a third in a week with a further 10,321 people testing positive for the infection in the highest Saturday increase since February.
Today’s case total – 2,583 more than the 7,738 recorded last week – comes amid fears that the UK will not be able to outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of vaccination.
It is the third day in a row where the number of infections has exceeded 10,000, and the highest rise on a Saturday since 10,406 cases were recorded on February 20.
The nation’s death toll stands at 14 today, a rise of two on the 12 recorded this day last week, bringing the total to 127,970.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Government data up to June 18 shows that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,679,268 were first doses – a rise of 218,636 on the previous day.
Some 31,087,325 were second doses, an increase of 188,858.
Thousands of Covid-19 jabs are being administered after stadiums and football grounds in London were transformed into mass vaccination centres.
Giant jab clinics have been set up at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.
Meanwhile, ministers are understood to be considering scrapping the 10-day quarantine period for fully-vaccinated people in a proposal to use daily tests instead.
Under the new plans, doubly-jabbed Britons will take a daily test for one week instead and be exempt from self-isolation for a 24-hour period after each negative test result.
It comes a week after the June 21 Freedom Day was delayed until July 19 in ‘one last heave’ of restrictions following a sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant.
In other coronavirus updates today as ministers race to dish out jabs to thwart the spread of the Delta variant:
- Prof Adam Finn, who advises the Government on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), described the idea of scrapping 10-day self-isolation for doubly-jabbed people who come into contact with Covid carriers as ‘interesting’ and said a ‘third wave’ of coronavirus infections ‘is definitely under way’;
- The academic said he ‘doesn’t feel confident’ that we are going to outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of vaccination, but there are ‘grounds for optimism’;
- Surge testing is being rolled out in targeted areas in Lambeth and Cumbria, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said;
- Dr Mike Tildesley, epidemiologist and a member of the SPI-M modelling group, said those going to hospital at the moment tend to be slightly younger and ‘slightly less sick’;
- Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire, said the link between cases and hospitalisations and hospitalisations and deaths ‘certainly appears to be weakened’;
- Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, urged countries to reach agreement on rules about vaccinated people being allowed entry.
Today’s case total – 2,583 more than the 7,738 recorded last week – comes amid fears that Britain will not be able to outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of vaccination
Government data up to June 18 shows that of the 73,766,593 jabs given in the UK so far, 42,679,268 were first doses – a rise of 218,636 on the previous day
Britain’s death toll stands at 14 today, a rise of two on the 12 recorded this day last week. It follows the Prime Minister earlier saying the data ‘continues to indicate’ that his July 19 terminus date will go ahead
People queue outside an NHS vaccination clinic at West Ham’s London Stadium in Stratford, east London, today
An aerial view showing people queuing at West Ham’s London Stadium. Thousands of Covid-19 jabs are being administered after stadiums and football grounds in the capital city were transformed into mass vaccination centres
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to be ‘very keen’ on the new approach which would help to lift coronavirus restrictions. But the proposal can only go ahead after Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, is content with the outcome of a study of 40,000 people.
Professor Adam Finn, who advises the Government on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), described the idea as an ‘interesting’ proposal, while Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, pointed out that the system is already in place in the US.
Prof Finn was also asked if he feels confident that we are going to outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of vaccination, and he told Times Radio: ‘No, I don’t feel confident, but I think there’s some grounds for optimism.
‘The latest ONS figures continue to show a rise, but that rise has not accelerated quite as much as I’d feared over the last week.
‘So, the race is on. The sooner we can get, particularly second doses, into older people, the less of a hospitalisation wave we’ll see this time around.
‘That’s the critical thing, that’s what’s grounded us all in the past, and if we’ve managed to protect enough older people that we can avoid a great big surge of hospitalisations and deaths, then things will be able to move back towards normal.’
NHS England’s most up-to-date regional figures show 84 per cent of over-25s across the country have had their first jab, while 62 per cent have had both doses.
Initial results from the study are predicted to come in next month and the research is set to finish by the end of this summer.
Meanwhile, ministers are understood to be considering scrapping the 10-day quarantine period for fully-vaccinated people under plans to use daily tests instead Pictured: people shield from the rain outside a vaccination centre in London on Friday
The figures come a week after the June 21 Freedom Day was delayed until July 19 in ‘one last heave’ of restrictions following a sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant (pictured: Robyn Coatsworth, 18, receives her first jab on Friday in Truro, Cornwall)
People are pictured queuing for a vaccination in Greenwich, London, earlier this week. It comes amid warnings that a ‘third wave’ of coronavirus infections ‘is definitely under way’
A Whitehall source told The Times: ‘The vaccines are extremely effective and we want to keep people safe whilst minimising interruption to their lives. So of course it is an attractive option if shown to be safe.’
It follows 62,000 people having to self-isolate last week after coming into contact with Covid carriers.
Another source added: ‘It’s obviously very appealing if it’s safe so we need to show that before we bring it in. Matt is very keen on it and there is a strong appetite in some corners.’
Some 26 areas of England have fully vaccinated more than 80 per cent of their eligible residents. Yarmouth and Freshwater in the Isle of White had the highest rate at 85 per cent, thanks to its large elderly population.
The nation’s vaccine roll-out was extended to over-18s yesterday and over-25s were able to start booking appointments last week.
And speaking this morning on a potential third wave, Prof Finn also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely under way.
MailOnline analysis has revealed uptake around the country varies massively, with seven areas having vaccinated less than 30 per cent of eligible adults
Second doses followed a similar pattern, with the lowest numbers seen in student areas across England. In Cathedral and Kelham in Sheffield, just eight per cent of people are fully vaccinated
‘We can conclude that the race is firmly on between the vaccine programme, particularly getting older people’s second doses done, and the Delta variant third wave.’
The University of Bristol academic said the JCVI is still working to decide whether children should be vaccinated but said that effort would not be the immediate priority if it was approved.
He added: ‘Even if some decision were made to immunise children it wouldn’t be appropriate right now, either here or anywhere else in Europe, to give our doses predominantly to children because it’s adults that get sick, so vaccinating adults is clearly the priority right now.’
It follows the Prime Minister earlier saying the data ‘continues to indicate’ that his July 19 terminus date, when all legal limits on social contact are set to be scrapped, will go ahead.
The decision to delay ‘Freedom Day’ was intended to allow time to push forward with the vaccination programme. The UK will still see some easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21.
It is not yet clear what restrictions will be eased, but reports suggest the government will scrap limits on the number of guests at weddings and allow more large events.
A two-week ‘review point’ demanded by Mr Johnson will now be a ‘genuine review of the data’ which could lead to Freedom Day being brought forward to July 5.