Watch: Matt Hancock holds Downing Street press conference

5 March 2021, 16:25 | Updated: 5 March 2021, 17:42

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Matt Hancock has led the Downing Street press conference. You can watch the full briefing here.

The Health Secretary was joined by Public Health England's Dr Susan Hopkins.

The briefing came amid mounting anger over the Government's recommendation of a 1% pay rise for nurses and other health workers, who are battling to keep the nation fit and well during the pandemic.

Unions representing NHS workers have warned of industrial action, with the Royal College of Nursing today announcing it is to set up a £35 million industrial action fund in response to the Government's recommendation.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Covid R rate has slightly increased for first time since January, to 0.7-0.9.

This means that, on average, every 10 infected people will pass the virus on to between seven and nine other individuals.

Coronavirus infections in England fell to their lowest level since October in the week between February 21 and 27, the latest Office for National Statistics figures show, when around one in 220 people in private households had Covid-19.

A total of 18,835,355 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and March 4, according to provisional NHS England data.

This includes first and second doses and is a rise of 365,433 on the previous day's figures.

Of this number, 18,106,090 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 320,388 on the previous day, while 729,265 were a second dose, an increase of 45,045.