Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
Covid-19: UK records another 373 deaths as over 12 million vaccinated
7 February 2021, 16:33 | Updated: 7 February 2021, 17:16
The UK has recorded a further 15,845 Covid-19 cases and 373 deaths in the past 24 hours - but over 12 million people have now been given the first dose of a vaccine.
It brings the total number of deaths in the country to 112,465 - one of the highest in the world to date.
But the figure is the lowest since the end of December and follows a significant drop in the number of people becoming infected and hospitalised.
Patients in England were aged between 28 and 100. All except nine, aged between 42 and 79, had known underlying health conditions.
Meanwhile, 12,014,288 million people in the UK have now received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine - up 549,078 on yesterday’s figure.
Over 500,000 people have also received a second dose.
An average of 373,214 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government's target of 15 million first doses by February 15.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC the UK almost hit 1,000 Covid jabs a minute at one point on Saturday and that he was confident the target will be hit.
He also said he is sure that all over-50s will be vaccinated by May.
Mr Zahawi said: "The rollout is progressing at pace, by the middle of this month we will have offered the vaccine to the top four most vulnerable cohorts in that list that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have given us, which has nine categories.
"The top four is 88 per cent of mortalities, so by mid-February, that is about 15 million people in the United Kingdom, we will have hit that target.
"Then we move on to categories five, six, seven, eight and nine - that's the nine categories which make up 99 per cent of mortality - and I'm confident we'll hit that target by May to have given the first dose to all nine categories."
His comments came after it was announced that regular rapid-result coronavirus testing is to be made available more widely to employees who are continuing to travel to work during the lockdown in a bid to tackle asymptomatic cases.
Ministers will expand the programme by offering access to lateral flow tests, which can produce results in less than 30 minutes, to businesses with more than 50 employees.
Meanwhile, several areas have deployed surge testing sites after cases of the South African coronavirus variant were detected in recent days.
Asymptomatic testing has been launched in the WR3 postcode of Worcestershire as well as PR9 in Sefton and parts of Bristol and South Gloucestershire after cases of the variant with no links to international travel were identified.
Mobile testing units have been set up at pubs, sports centres and other community buildings for adults with no symptoms living within walking distance.
Drive-through testing sites are also planned to open in the coming days and door-to-door testing will also be made available in some areas.