UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday promised to give daily updates on the country's vaccination programme to protect the most vulnerable groups from COVID-19 as the daily coronavirus infections hit a new record figure of 60,196 for the first time since the pandemic began last year.
Addressing a press briefing from 10 Downing Street here a day after he announced another nationwide lockdown to control the rapid spread of a new highly transmissible variant of the deadly coronavirus, Johnson revealed that the National Health Service (NHS) has completed vaccinating 1.3 million people with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs, and that rollout will continue to be further accelerated as the main route out of the lockdown.
That means that nearly one in four of one of the most vulnerable groups will have in two-to-three weeks a significant degree of immunity, Johnson said.
He reiterated an earlier hope that things will get better by the months of spring as by February 15 the NHS is committed to offering a vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups.
To help with meeting this target, he revealed that there are already 595 general practitioner (GP) led sites providing vaccines with a further 180 coming on stream later this week.
Besides, there are also 107 hospital sites with a further 100 later this week. Seven vaccination centres will also be opening in places such as sports stadiums and exhibition centres from next week.
There will be long weeks ahead in which we must persevere with these restrictions but I want to give the British people the maximum amount of transparency possible with regards to the vaccine, he said, as he promised daily updates from Monday.
His briefing came as the UK registered 830 further coronavirus deaths, taking the death toll past 76,000.
According to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), one in 50 people in the country have got the virus, which is higher in some parts and lower in others.
"One in 50 really is quite a very large number indeed," said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, who joined Johnson at the briefing.
On Monday, Whitty joined CMOs from other parts of the United Kingdom to recommend that the COVID-19 threat level be increased from four to five the highest level, which resulted in nationwide lockdowns in England and Scotland.
Wales has been in a national lockdown since December 20 last year and Northern Ireland entered a six-week lockdown on December 26, 2020, and has plans to further tighten measures.