But Government sources have “dismissed as speculation” reports that every adult in Britain could be vaccinated by the end of June. Other reports state the government is looking at relaxing lockdown restrictions in March.
671 more Covid deaths announced in the UK
UK coronavirus cases rose by 38,598 today as the death toll grew by a further 671.
Statistics that show how NHS is rising to challenge of Covid-19
Two stark statistics from the frontline in the battle against coronavirus from the NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens. One person being admitted to hospital every minute but 140 vaccinations taking place a minute.
‘Each jab brings us one step closer to normal’
More here on Matt Hancock saying half of people aged 80 and over have been vaccinated
Nearly 3.8million vaccines given out in England
A total of 3,791,594 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in England.
That number represents a further 277,209 doses in the last 24 hours.
3,365,492 people have now received their first dose, with 426,102 of those having a second dose and are fully vaccinated.
The NHS needs to deliver at least 2million jabs a week to fulfil the government’s target.
Matt Hancock earlier tweeted that over half of all over 80s had been vaccinated.
More Australian Open players go into isolation taking number up to 72
Twenty-five more players are having to isolate in hotel rooms in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, taking the overall number up to 72.
Forty-seven had already been told they had to stay in their rooms for 14 days following positive tests for coronavirus on flights that had taken them to the country.
A statement on the official Twitter account of the Australian Open said: “One positive Covid-19 test has been returned from a passenger on a charter flight into Melbourne from Doha which arrived at 5.30am on January 16.
“The passenger is not a member of the playing contingent and had tested negative before the flight. There were 58 passengers on the flight, including 25 players. All are already in quarantine hotels.”
631 more people with Covid-19 die in hospital in England
A further 631 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 60,921, NHS England said on Sunday.
Patients were aged between 29 and 103. All except 31, aged between 46 and 93, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between November 5 and January 16.
There were 36 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Half of all over-80s have been vaccinated against coronavirus
Half of all over-80s have been vaccinated against coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
He tweeted: “I’m delighted that over half of all over-80s have been vaccinated.
“Each jab brings us one step closer to normal.
“Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”
Oak National Academy and National Literacy Trust give free access to books for children who are remote learning
A new scheme has launched offering children free access to online books during lockdown
‘NHS vaccinating at 140 jabs a minute’
Sir Simon Stevens said the NHS in England is vaccinating at a rate of “140 jabs a minute”.
He said: “We will start testing 24/7 in some hospitals over the course of the next 10 days.
“But we are at the moment vaccinating at about 140 jabs a minute and yesterday (Saturday), a quarter of a million people got their vaccinations on the NHS.
“I’m pretty confident by the time we get to the end of today, Sunday night, we will have perhaps done 1.5 million vaccinations this past week, that’s up from around a million the week before.”
NHS boss: ‘lockdown will be eased gradually’
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said he expects lockdown to be eased gradually around spring and summer time.
He said: “It is not going to be the case that on Valentine’s Day, with one bound, we are free.
“Equally, I don’t think we will have to wait until the autumn, I think somewhere between those two.
“Subject, of course, to this uncertainty around new variants of coronavirus and it will be very important we don’t see those taking off in a way that undermines the effectiveness of the vaccines we have.”