James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
UK records 621 more Covid deaths as number vaccinated nears 14.6 million
13 February 2021, 16:16 | Updated: 13 February 2021, 17:44
The UK has recorded another 621 Covid-related deaths as the number of people to have received their first dose of the vaccine neared 14.6 million.
The recent deaths, which took place within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bring the UK total to 116,908.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 13,308 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 4,027,106.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 135,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
Government data up to February 12 shows that of the 15,091,696 jabs given in the UK so far, 14,556,827 were first doses - a rise of 544,603 on the previous day.
Some 534,869 were second doses, an increase of 4,775 on figures released the previous day.
The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 441,660.
Based on the latest figures, an average of 221,587 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day to meet the Government's target of 15 million first doses by February 15.
The figures came as Boris Johnson said he is "optimistic" he will be able to begin announcing the easing of some restrictions when he sets out his roadmap out of lockdown on 22 February.
The prime minister told reporters during a visit to a vaccine manufacturing facility plant in Billingham, Teesside - where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured - that he is confident but "cautious" ahead of his announcement in nine days.
"I'm optimistic, I won't hide it from you. I'm optimistic, but we have to be cautious," he said.
He also told LBC he was "hopeful" that pubs would be able to open their outdoor areas by Easter.
Mr Johnson explained that his first priority remained opening schools in England on 8 March before any other sectors.
"Our children's education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course, we want to be opening hospitality as well," he said.
"I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease. We don't want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret."