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Coronavirus: UK records 17 more Covid deaths and 2,685 cases on Tuesday

Britain today confirmed another 17 Covid deaths and 2,685 infections as the numbers continued to fall but Boris Johnson warned the country is ‘not out of the woods yet’. 

Deaths fell by half from 33 a week ago, while positive tests were up just 6.8 per cent on last Tuesday’s 2,524.

There are 1,608 people in hospital with Covid across Britain and 169 were admitted to wards last Wednesday, with the daily average continuing to fall.

Despite optimism as the UK loosens its lockdown rules and warm weather returns, the Prime Minister warned that new variants of the virus still pose a threat and the Government still faces ‘tough decisions’.

No10 issued a statement summarising today’s Cabinet meeting that said: ‘The PM reiterated the data continues to look good but warned that we are not out of the woods yet as variants of concern continue to pose a threat.

‘The PM said while the road ahead looks positive, there will still be challenges and this Government will continue to take tough decisions where necessary to protect both lives and livelihoods.’

Another 304,688 people got their second vaccine doses yesterday along with 90,695 receiving a jab for the first time. A total of 33.84million people have had at least one jab and 13.2m are now fully immunised.

NHS figures showed that a quarter of British adults have now had a full two-dose course and 47million vaccines have been dished out in total. Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the milestone a ‘terrific cause for celebration’ as he announced that everyone over the age of 42 is now eligible to get vaccinated.

The number of people getting tested for coronavirus is surging because rapid lateral flow tests are now offered for free to everyone who wants them and also mandated for school staff and pupils

The number of people getting tested for coronavirus is surging because rapid lateral flow tests are now offered for free to everyone who wants them and also mandated for school staff and pupils

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured yesterday at a beach in Llandudno, said today that Britain is 'not out of the woods yet'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured yesterday at a beach in Llandudno, said today that Britain is ‘not out of the woods yet’

Mr Hancock said today: ‘This latest milestone is a terrific cause for celebration – over a quarter of all adults across the UK, including those most vulnerable to Covid, have now had two jabs, meaning they have received the strongest possible protection.

‘Thank you to the brilliant NHS, volunteers, local authorities, armed forces and civil servants who continue to work tirelessly to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.

‘There is undeniable evidence that vaccines are saving lives, significantly reducing hospitalisations and deaths. 

‘I urge all those who are offered an appointment to get their jab and join the millions of people who now have protection from this terrible disease.’

The milestone comes as NHS England today lowered the age for people to get a coronavirus vaccine for the second time this week. 

From today, everyone over the age of 42 — or who have their 42nd birthday before July — will be invited to come forward for their jab. 

Mr Hancock, 42, revealed the expansion in a video posted on Twitter, adding that he was ‘very excited’ to come forward for a vaccine himself.   

All 1.3million people aged 42 and 43 will invited via text from ‘NHSvaccine’, which includes a web link to the health service’s online booking service. Those who can’t access the internet can call 119 instead to get an appointment at one of 1,600 sites administering the vaccines across England.

It comes after the age limit in England was dropped to 44 yesterday. 

Two-thirds of 45 to 49-year-olds have already received their first dose, despite the programme only opening to them a fortnight ago. The scheme is expected to widen even further to people in their 30s next week.  

But the number of first doses being administered each day has fallen from a peak of 750,000 to just 90,000 yesterday after dips in supply meant officials had to focus on meeting second dose targets. Another 300,000 second doses were dished out.

Mr Hancock said: ‘We’re excited to be able to tell you that today we are opening vaccination up to people aged 43 and 42, which includes me.

‘So I’m really looking forward to getting my text. Yesterday we opened up to people aged 44. That’s gone very, very well. Thank your to the hundreds of thousands who have come forward and booked your appointment.

From today, everyone over the age of 42 - or who have their 42nd birthday before July - will be invited to come forward for their jab

From today, everyone over the age of 42 – or who have their 42nd birthday before July – will be invited to come forward for their jab

‘And now we’re able to go that little bit further. This vaccination roll-out is going incredibly well. The uptake is astonishingly high. So when you get your text, please come forward and get your jab.’

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, added: ‘Just two weeks after rolling out the vaccine to those aged 45 and over, we are now ready to invite those aged 42 and 43, as the largest vaccination programme in NHS history continues at speed.

‘The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, hasn’t happened by accident.

If you want to end lockdowns forever get vaccinated, says top expert 

Young people should get Covid vaccines to regain their freedom and bring an end to lockdowns even if they are at a lower risk of dying, a scientist has said.

Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline younger people might not see as big a personal benefit to vaccination as older generations.

But widespread vaccination across all adult age groups is vital to bringing an end to the constant restrictions that have ruled people’s lives for the past year.

Experts are concerned that younger people will have lower jab uptake than elderly groups because they don’t face a high risk of death from Covid, and they may be more likely to have seen anti-vaxx theories online or be worried about side effects.

Dr Ali said: ‘We are going to face an issue, particularly in young people who perceive the threat of Covid to be less.

‘I’d say to these people, if you want to avoid another lockdown then vaccination is the best way to do it. Young people suffer from lockdowns most, with their mental and economic health. Vaccination is the only way to do it.’

‘There’s a degree of altruism versus personal benefit as you go down the age groups, particularly as you get below 30,’ Dr Ali said.

He added: ‘The surveys I’ve seen suggest uptake is going to be about 85 per cent, which isn’t as high as the current rate but no-one thought we’d get 95 per cent uptake before.’

Dr Ali suggests a tricky element of young people getting vaccinated is that for many of them it is selfless and intended to protect other people rather than themselves.

‘It is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.

‘If you receive a text inviting you to book in for your jab, please follow the instructions provided – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus.’

The expansion of the rollout coincidences with a new Government advertising blitz aimed at boosting vaccine uptake in younger Britons.

It included a primetime TV advert that aired during the ad-break on ITV’s Emmerdale last night. 

The ‘every vaccination gives us hope’ campaign is also running across social media and on billboards.

Experts are concerned that younger people will have lower jab uptake than elderly groups because they don’t face a high risk of death from Covid, and they may be more likely to have seen anti-vaxx theories online or be worried about side effects.

NHS data show that only 644 out of the 86,868 people in England to have died of Covid so far have been under the age of 40 – just 0.7 per cent. 

Most people admitted to hospital with the disease are in middle age, now that vaccines are protecting large proportions of elderly people. 

Public Health England data last week showed that people in their 30s had the highest infection rate among adults at 34 positive cases per 100,000 people.

This was followed by 20 to 29-year-olds, with 32 per 100,000. Teenagers had the highest positive test rate (42) but not all of them are not yet able to get vaccines, so experts say younger adults must get jabs to reduce the impact of those outbreaks.

Studies have suggested that the vaccines will prevent transmission as well as severe disease, meaning it is vital for everyone to get a jab.

Oxford University research last week found that among those who had been given at least one dose of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine there was a 74 per cent drop in symptomatic infections.

Crucially, the jabs also cut asymptomatic cases – where the person infected has no signs of illness – by more than 50 per cent. This is critical to stopping people unwittingly spreading Covid.  

Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline younger people might not see as big a personal benefit to vaccination as older generations.

Dr Ali said: ‘We are going to face an issue, particularly in young people who perceive the threat of Covid to be less.

‘I’d say to these people, if you want to avoid another lockdown then vaccination is the best way to do it. Young people suffer from lockdowns most, with their mental and economic health. Vaccination is the only way to do it.

‘There’s a degree of altruism versus personal benefit as you go down the age groups, particularly as you get below 30.’

NHS England lowered the age for people to get a coronavirus vaccine for the second time this week following successful rollouts in older age groups (file)

NHS England lowered the age for people to get a coronavirus vaccine for the second time this week following successful rollouts in older age groups (file)

He added: ‘The surveys I’ve seen suggest uptake is going to be about 85 per cent, which isn’t as high as the current rate but no-one thought we’d get 95 per cent uptake before.’

Dr Ali suggests a tricky element of young people getting vaccinated is that for many of them it is selfless and intended to protect other people rather than themselves.

Vaccine hesitancy in Britain is highest among 16 to 29-year-olds, according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

An ONS survey carried out in February and March found some 12% of people in this age group said they had declined the vaccine, were unlikely to have the jab if offered or did not know if they would have a vaccination.

This is the equivalent of around 1.2 million people, based on the weighted population figures used in the ONS survey.

Hesitancy was nine per cent among those aged 30 to 49 – the equivalent of 1.6 million people.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk