The figures come as it is also revealed that the number of people in hospital with COVID has passed 30,000 for the first time.

The UK has recorded its highest number of COVID-related deaths since 21 April, and the highest daily increase in cases.

The government figures reported on Wednesday afternoon showed another 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. This is the 10th time since the pandemic began that the daily number of deaths has been above 1,000.

The figure was a significant increase from the 830 deaths reported on Tuesday, with both days likely to contain some deaths that took place over the Christmas and New Year period that have only just been reported.

It was also reported on Wednesday that the number of COVID patients in UK hospital, as of Monday 4 January, has passed 30,000 for the first time – reaching 30,451.

This includes 26,626 patients in England, 1,966 in Wales, 1,282 in Scotland and 577 in Northern Ireland.

It comes after Boris Johnson warned the public that the easing of England’s third national lockdown will be a “gradual unwrapping” and not a “big bang”.

The prime minister told MPs earlier that the government will use “every available second” of the current shutdown to place an “invisible shield” around elderly and vulnerable people through the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

The locations of seven mass vaccination centres were revealed by the government, along with plans to open them next week.

Wednesday’s figures also show that 5,085 people died between 24 December and 1 January, all of whom had tested positive for COVID-19 within 28 days of their death.

The full death toll for this period, which includes everyone who had COVID-19 recorded on their death certificate, will not be known until later in January.

We haven’t reported this many COVID-19 related deaths in a 24 hour period since 21 April 2020, but the warnings were there for everyone to see.

The capital has been the worst hit, with 193 deaths. But if people think this is an exclusively London or south England problem, they are mistaken.

We are seeing a record number of infections. The government says the new variant, a much more highly infectious version of coronavirus, is driving this.

The number of infections recorded today is 62,322. But it must be remembered we are testing many more people than we were back in the spring.

But we know infections lead to hospitalisations. The health secretary said today the number of patients in hospitals in the UK as of Monday 4 January stood at 30,451. This is the first time it’s been above 30,000.

That is why the country has been placed in its third national lockdown. The health service is under pressure like never before – even more than it was during the peak of the first wave.

The country has been put on alert level 5, meaning there are 21 days to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed.

Some hospitals are almost there. An anaesthetist working in London’s Whittington Hospital told me the only empty beds in his ICU were the ones left by patients who had died. These were immediately filled by critically sick patients brought in from A&E. Patients are also being moved around from hospitals at capacity to ones with space.

Hospitals have already created surge capacity by turning over parts of their hospitals to COVID treatment. This is why some people are incorrectly comparing ICU capacity right now to previous years and saying they are the same. They are not.

Boris Johnson and his vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi have set an ambitious target for vaccinating the country and say it is the only way out this pandemic. But doctors are reporting severe shortages of the Pfizer vaccine. One in west London told me he had been promised 2,500 but now will only get 300 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines. He is understandably furious.

Now, more than ever, is the time to get our COVID response right. The infections spread through Christmas mingling have not even started coming through yet.

© 2021 Sky UK

Source: https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMibmh0dHBzOi8vbmV3cy5za3kuY29tL3N0b3J5L2NvdmlkLTE5LXVrLXJlY29yZHMtMS0wNDEtY292aWQtZGVhdGhzLWFuZC1oaWdoZXN0LWRhaWx5LWluY3JlYXNlLWluLWNhc2VzLTEyMTgwNzYy0gFyaHR0cHM6Ly9uZXdzLnNreS5jb20vc3RvcnkvYW1wL2NvdmlkLTE5LXVrLXJlY29yZHMtMS0wNDEtY292aWQtZGVhdGhzLWFuZC1oaWdoZXN0LWRhaWx5LWluY3JlYXNlLWluLWNhc2VzLTEyMTgwNzYy?oc=5

News – COVID-19: UK records 1,041 COVID deaths and highest daily increase in cases