By Aditi Khanna
London, Jan 13 (PTI) The UK on Wednesday hit a grim record of 1,564 daily death toll of people dying within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, the worst figure since the pandemic hit last year, taking the country’s death tally from the deadly virus to 84,767.
It comes as 47,525 more people tested positive for the virus, even as London registered the first fall in hospitalisations since early December.
The figures come as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned there was a "very substantial" risk of intensive care capacity in hospitals being "overtopped".
Speaking to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, Johnson said the situation was "very, very tough" in the National Health Service (NHS) and the strain on staff was "colossal".
He once again appealed to the public to follow lockdown rules, which require people to stay at home and only go out for limited reasons.
He also revealed that steps were being taken to monitor a new variant of coronavirus in Brazil, which is believed to be different from other variants found in the UK and South Africa.
"We already have tough measures... to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad. We are taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant," he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons, he told Parliament that COVID vaccinations will be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week as soon as supplies of the Pfizer/BioNtech and Oxford/AstraZeneca and eventually the Moderna vaccine allow.
The 24-7 service will be piloted in a small number of places first – with NHS staff likely to be offered the option of overnight vaccinations first.
"They are going exceptionally fast," he said, in reference to the vaccination programme.
By the end of Monday, 2.4 million people had received their first of two vaccine doses. The government has promised all the over-70s, the extremely clinically vulnerable and front-line health and care workers – about 15 million people – will be offered a jab by mid-February. PTI AK RUP