Today’s Covid cases in Britain fell again, according to official data. Official data was provided by an official data source. 

The Department of Health bosses reported 41,299 positive coronavirus testing in the last 24 hour, a six percent decrease from Wednesday’s 43,941. Cases have fallen week-on-week every day for eleven days barring Monday — a blip that was down to Wales not publishing any infection numbers the previous week. 

The latest data for Saturday shows that hospitalisations remained flat. There were 888 cases of the virus in the hospital, which is a drop of 0.7% compared to the previous week. 

However, deaths continue to rise, rising by 4.8 percent to 217 last week. Because of the time it takes for patients to become seriously ill, changes in fatality rates can be delayed by several weeks. 

The figures come after Professor Jonathan Van-Tam today warned Britons that another Christmas lockdown could be on the cards if people act like the pandemic has finished. 

The deputy chief medical officer of England said that there were still ‘hard months ahead’ and that the country’s infection rate was “running hot” as it heads into what is expected be a difficult winter for the NHS. He added, in one of his famous analogies, “The last whistle on Covid hasn’t blown yet.”

Professor Van-Tam urged the nation to behave responsibly and emphasised the importance of face masks — but did not outright call for their enforced return in public spaces. 

Sir Jeremy Farrar, a top Covid scientist, shared a series of tweets in which he criticised the Government for not having masks and Plan B days prior to quitting SAGE 

After condemning England’s laissez-faire response in the third Covid wave, the distinguished scientist left SAGE and posted a series of critical tweets that were directed at Government during his resignation.

Sir Jeremy Farrar liked a position that accused ministers seeing old people “expensive” at the time he stepped down from No10’s scientific advisory panel at October’s end.

The distinguished epidemiologist also endorsed a tweet criticizing Tory MPs’ inability to wear masks in the Commons. It added: “Seriously no surprise our stats are so horrible.”  

In the middle of October, Sir Jeremy liked a sarcastic post about rising Covid variants in Britain which read: ‘How could this happen in the face of mask wearing, ventilation, vaccine passports, preventing infection in school children… Oh.

In what appeared to have been a thinly-veiled jibe about the lack of social restrictions in England he shared a story with the caption: “Honeybees used social distancing whenever mites threatened hives.” 

Other coronavirus developments are also happening today: 

  • A member from No10’s vaccination advisory group said that it was “far too early” for the UK to start jabbing children under five years old.
  • According to reports, the second dose of Covid vaccine will be approved by the UK for all 16- and 17-year olds within days.
  • A series of critical tweets aimed at Government in the run-up to the eminent scientist who quit SAGE after condemning England’s laissez-faire response to the third Covid wave shared a his resignation were revealed;
  • Unions warned that thousands of care home workers could lose their jobs if they don’t get vaccinated against Covid.

According to the Government, 217 more people had died in the 28 days following testing positive for Covid.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that 166,000 deaths were registered in the UK where Covid is mentioned on the death certificates.

Addressing the nation in a Q&A this morning, Professor Van-Tam told BBC Breakfast: ‘Too many people believe that this pandemic is now over. Personally, I feel that there are still some difficult months ahead in the winter. It is not over.

“Christmas and all of the darker months of winter are potentially going be problematic.

When asked how another festive lockdown could be prevented he stated that it depended upon ‘how careful we are’ and UK’s vaccination drives. He encouraged people to get their flu jabs and boosters when they were invited.

No10 is offering booster vaccines for over-50s and vulnerable patients. There are also jabs available for children 12 years old.

The Government has stated that it will implement its winter Plan B’. This includes the return of coverings and working from home, as well as vaccine passports at large events if the NHS is under ‘unsustainable’ strain in the coming months.

There are signs that infections are already beginning to decrease. No10’s expert panel of experts has stated that if people are cautious, then the NHS should not go bankrupt by Covid in this winter. 

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, says there are still 'hard months to come' and the country was 'running hot' too early in autumn

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, says there are still ‘hard months to come’ and the country was ‘running hot’ too early in autumn

No10’s advisory panel member on vaccines says it’s too early to follow the US in blaming children as young as FIVE 

After the US yesterday confirmed that it would continue with the rollout, the UK’s vaccine advisory group member today said that it was ‘far too soon’ to start jabbing children as young at five.

Professor Jeremy Brown is a member of The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. He said that the UK medicines regulator has not yet examined data on whether Britain should be starting to jab five- to 11-year olds.

He said that there may be a case to jab vulnerable children, and the decision about whether or not to vaccinate the entire age group will depend upon the current infection rates.

It comes after the US announced last night that they would continue to vacinate children aged 5-11 years old with the Pfizer jab.  

The UK has not yet limited its vaccine program beyond 12 years. The JCVI advised against the move because it found that there was not enough benefit in jabbing everyone in every age group.

However, the chief medical officers from the UK’s four countries decided to proceed with the jabs to minimize disruption to their education.

According to the most recent official statistics, only one in five children between 12 and 16 years old had received a single dose of vitamin D by October 24.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief physician officer, said today that the UK’s expansion of the rollout to children under 12 years old is’someway down the tracks’.

For the first time in weeks, daily infections in England dropped below 30,000 yesterday. In the UK, there have been nine cases in the last ten days.

There is cautious optimism that children are starting to show greater immunity.

Asked what stage of the ‘game’ Britain is with Covid, Professor Van-Tam told BBC Breakfast: ‘I would say we’re kind of half-time in extra time, and I think the final whistle in terms of — I can’t predict it — but my personal view is that we’ve got a few more months to run, and I think we’ll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring.

‘But I think, until then — caution, be very careful, this is not quite over and vaccines, boosters, really important.’

He added: ‘I think a whole range of behaviours, including the use of face coverings, but generally the caution that people take or don’t take in terms of interacting with each other — that is going to be a big determinant in what happens between now and the kind of darkest months of the winter.

‘The other things that are going to be really important are how people respond if they are in need of a booster, if they are in need of flu vaccine, if they are partially vaccinated, or indeed if they are unvaccinated — that will be another really important factor in terms of what happens over the next few months.’

According to the leading scientist, Covid levels in the UK are still very high.

He said, “It’s concerning to scientists that we’re running this hot so early in the fall season.

“And so, from this perspective, I’m afraid that it’s caution followed by caution and we need to monitor these data very carefully indeed over a few days and weeks.”

Looking at the figures specifically, Professor Van Tam stated that hospital admissions have stagnated in the last four day, while there was a slight decrease in the number of patients being treated with Covid on wards.

Official data shows there were 1,002 UK hospitalisations on October 29, which marked the fifth day in a row of four-digit admissions.

‘What that tells me is that we have to just wait and see a bit longer — this could be a pause before things go up, it could be the very first signs that things are beginning to stabilise but at a high rate,’ he said.

“On cases, however, they are now beginning to fall, but this mainly reflects that the big wave in teenagers is now slowly slipping away.

“But my concern is that the deaths keep increasing and that indicates that the infection is now beginning to penetrate older age groups.

‘And that’s why the really key thing is that if you are called for your booster, if you are called for your flu vaccine, please go and get them — this could be really very important this winter, it is not the time to be complacent.’

Professor Van-Tam called on the NHS and Government to make it easier for people to know when their booster shots are due. He also said that it is not known if they will need to repeat boosters in future.

He stated that everyone wants to go faster on the booster program, but that there is now a lot of momentum.

Experts yesterday warned Britain’s Covid booster jab drive is still going too slowly.

Official figures show that 1.6million people in England received their third dose last Wednesday. This is a slight increase from the sluggish drive of 1.1million people every seven days at October’s start. 

Professor Van-Tam stated that the decision to make face masks mandatory for England is up to ministers, even in places like the House of Commons.

He said, “I don’t think that I’m in the position to judge all interactions that occur in any work premises including the House of Commons.”

While he stated that he supports the use of masks in some settings, he stated that the Department for Education advises that face masks should not generally be worn in schools.

He added, “I can see how they could be quite inhibitive to the natural expressions in learning for children involving speech/facial expression.” It’s hard for children to learn in schools that have face masks.

When asked if 12- to 17-year olds could be given a second dose, he replied that the Joint Commission for Vaccination and Immunisation is still considering the matter.

He stated that only one dose was recommended for this age group and that second jabs would be given first to 16- to-17-year olds if the JCVI recommends extra doses.

He said that the JCVI is moving slowly and carefully’ and that there is ‘plenty time’ for decisions on second doses.