Tragically another 1,014 people have died after contracting Covid-19, bringing the UK’s official death toll to 111,264. Today’s toll is a rise on yesterday’s figure of 915. Over the last week there have been 6,893 deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test.
Earlier today the NHS said that a 15-year-old was among those who died in hospital.
The UK has the fifth highest death toll in the world, with just the USA, Mexico, Brazil and India with more deaths.
This week Prof Chris Whitty, warned that the daily death figures would remain high “for some time”
The Government’s top scientific advisers warned last month that a “complete, pre-emptive closure of borders” was needed to fully prevent new coronavirus strains being imported into the UK.
Minutes from a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) held on January 21 revealed that the experts said the only other method of stopping any variants arriving was for all travellers to be quarantined in designated facilities.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced six days later that only people arriving from countries on a “red list” will be required to self-isolate in a hotel for 10 days.
It was confirmed last night that this policy will not come into force until February 15.
The advisers stated: “Evidence from the continued spread of the South African and UK variants suggests that reactive, geographically targeted travel bans cannot be relied upon to stop importation of new variants once identified, due to the time lag between the emergence and identification of variants of concern, and the potential for indirect travel via a third country.”
They added that requiring passengers to quarantine on arrival and test negative for coronavirus before they are released has the “most substantial potential effect on reducing the risk of infected arrivals”.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Sage “did not actually advise the Government to completely close borders or call for a blanket quarantine on travels”.