Covid infection rate in UK still alarmingly high: PM

London, Feb 4 : The coronavirus infection rate in the UK is "still alarmingly high" to consider relaxing social distancing guidelines, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned.

Addressing a virtual Downing Street news briefing on Wednesday, Johnson said that 90 per cent of those aged over 75 in England had received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Prime Minister said that although the number in hospital was beginning to fall, the National Health Service (NHS) was still under "huge pressure".

Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 10 million people in Britain have been given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which means 15 per cent of the population have had their first coronavirus jab.

Joining Johnson for the press briefing, Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said it looks as if Britain is past the peak of its current wave.

"I think that most of my colleagues think we are past the peak.

That doesn't mean you can never have another peak, but at this point in time, provided people continue to follow the guidelines, we are on the downward slope of cases, hospitalization and of deaths in all four nations of the UK, so I think we do think, at this point, this peak at least, we are past," he said.

The country aims to deliver a first dose to 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February and to offer all adults their first dose by autumn.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.

Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As of Thursday, the country's overall caseload and death toll stood at 3,882,972 and 109,547, respectively.



Source: IANS