An Independent Sage remember has reiterated the group’s call for nationwide tier 4 measures, as millions more were plunged into the highest level of restrictions in England.
Dr Zubaida Haque said the committee were “very worried” and said tier 4 was needed “everywhere now to save lives”.
Her comments came on the same day more than six million people were added to the list of those in tier 4 areas, which now makes up 43 per cent of England. Other areas have gone into tier 3 or tier 2, as changes came into force on Boxing Day.
Restrictions over Covid-19 have been stepped up elsewhere in the UK, with the whole of mainland Scotland placed under the toughest level of restrictions in the country, forcing all non-essential retail and hospitality to close.
Tough new restrictions that were eased in Wales for Christmas Day were reimposed on Boxing Day, and a new six-week national lockdown started in Northern Ireland.
The stricter measures face by millions come against the backdrop of the new more contagious variant spreading in the UK – which Sweden and Spain announced they had detected within their borders today.
Meanwhile, Hungary stole a march on its fellow EU nations as it began vaccinating its people against Covid-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries including France, Germany and Spain.
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1609001108‘We need tier 4 everywhere now to save lives’
Here’s a reminder of what an Independent Sage member said today, as millions were plunged into tier 4:
The group of independent experts had called for the whole of England to go into the highest level of restrictions before Christmas, saying they were worried over festive celebrations and the spread of the new variant.
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 16:45
1608999987More than 34,000 new cases and 210 deaths in UK
Around 34,000 more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, and 210 more deaths have been recorded, according to the latest official data.
These figures bring the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to just over 2,256,000 and the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 70,405.
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 16:26
1608999608More than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases in Scotland
More than 1,100 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Scotland as most of the country was again put under the toughest coronavirus restrictions.
All of mainland Scotland entered Level 4 restrictions today. to help combat the emergence of a new, faster-spreading variant of Covid-19.
This means non-essential shops have had to shut, while bars, cafes and restaurants are only allowed to provide takeaway services.
Here is what Nicola Sturgeon had to say today:
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 16:20
1608998629Hungary goes ahead with first vaccines
Hungary stole a march on its fellow EU nations as it began vaccinating its people against Covid-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other countries as the pandemic surges across the continent.
The first worker to receive the shot was Adrienne Kertesz, a doctor at Del-Pest Central Hospital.
The Hungarian rollout came a day before countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain are planning to begin mass vaccinations, starting with health workers.
Hungarian head physician Adrienne Kertesz receives a vaccine
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 16:03
1608998408Independent Sage ‘very worried’
Here is a reminder of what an Independent Sage member said today, as millions were plunged into tier 4:
The group called for the whole of England to go into tier 4 before Christmas Day, saying they were worried about the impact of festive celebrations amid the new contagious variant:
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 16:00
1608997208Tier 4 explained
With six million more people in England now in tier 4 after the Boxing Day changes, here’s a reminder of how the highest level of restrictions is similar to – and different from – a full lockdown:
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 15:40
1608996008Vaccines arrive in EU countries
In some positive news, the first shipments of coronavirus vaccines have arrived in nations across the European Union as authorities prepared to administer the first shots to the most vulnerable people in a coordinated effort on Sunday.
The vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer arrived by truck in warehouses across the continent on Friday and early Saturday after being sent from a manufacturing center in Belgium before Christmas.
Here are vaccines arriving at a cold chain storage centre in Ireland:
First coronavirus vaccines arrive at cold chain storage centre in Ireland
Additional reporting by AP
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 15:20
1608994808New variant in Sweden
Sweden has become the latest country in the world to confirm a case of the new variant of coronavirus, which has sparked concern in the UK and led to travel bans.
Health officials said it concerned someone who had travelled from the UK and was staying in Sormland, which sits south of Stockholm.
They had come to the country for Christmas, according to a regional infection control doctor, who added that the risk of further contagion from the case was considered extremely limited.
The new variant is thought to be more transmissible than others currently circulating.
Additional reporting by Reuters
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 15:00
1608993908England death toll rises by 161
A further 161 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 48,311, NHS England said.
Patients were aged between 44 and 100. All except eight, aged between 64 and 94, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between December 17 and 25.
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 14:45
1608993334Lorry drivers and Covid-19 tests
Lorry drivers – this one wearing a Santa hat – were getting tested for coronavirus before entering the Port of Dover on Boxing Day.
A lorry driver gets tested for coronavirus by British soldiers before entering the Port of Dover on Boxing Day
Zoe Tidman26 December 2020 14:35