The surge in cases has been driven by the new variant of COVID-19, officials say, and while they acknowledge that the pandemic is spreading more quickly than expected, they say there is also light at the end of the tunnel vaccinations.
Johnsons government earlier touted a scientific triumph asBritainbecame the first country in the world to start inoculating people with shots of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Brian Pinker, 82, receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sam Foster at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, Britain January 4, 2021.Photo by Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
Dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, received the first vaccination outside of a trial.
I am so pleased to be getting the COVID vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford, said the retired maintenance manager, just a few hundred meters from where the vaccine was developed.
But even with the vaccines being rolled out, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths keep rising.
More than 75,000 people in the United Kingdom have died from COVID-19 within 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic. A record 58,784 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Monday.
If you look at the numbers theres no question were going to have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course, Johnson said in a pooled TV interview earlier Monday. We will do everything we can to keep the virus under control.
ITV reported the government plans to put the whole of England into Tier 4, the highest level in its system of restrictions, meaning non-essential shops will have to close and further curbs will be placed on socializing. Tier 4 rules effectively mirror the second lockdown in November, and already govern more than 75% of Englands population.