UK Covid news LIVE: A record 2.3 million Britons tested positive for Covid in one week

A record 2.3 million people in the UK had Covid-19 last week, the Office for National Statistics said.

The number rose from 1.4 million during the week to December 1. This is the highest number since comparable figures began in fall 2020.

Despite this, NHS bosses do not believe the threshold for new Covid-19 restrictions has been reached even though there has been an increase in hospital admissions.

However, Chris Hopson, the chief supplier of the NHS, told The Times: ‘Although the numbers are rising and rising at an ever-increasing rate, the absence of large numbers of critically ill elderly people is of great reassurance. “

Live updates

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Risk of Omicron hospitalization for a third of Delta, according to new government analysis

The risk of being hospitalized with Omicron is only a third that of Delta, a new government analysis has revealed.

The UK Heath Security Agency analyzed 528,176 Omicron cases and 573,012 Delta cases between November 22 and December 26 to assess the risk of hospitalization in England.

In optimistic new statistics, he found the risk of hospitalization was significantly lower, and the risk of being admitted to A&E or being hospitalized from Omicron was only half that of Delta.

However, more analysis needs to be done on the severity of the disease once hospitalized, scientists say.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is more promising data that reinforces how important vaccines are.

“They save lives and prevent serious illness. This analysis shows that you are up to 8 times more likely to end up in hospital with COVID-19 if you are not vaccinated. “

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Almost 4000 reminders distributed yesterday

A total of 397,554 booster and third doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were reported in the UK on Thursday, new figures show.

More than 33.9 million recalls and third doses have now been delivered in the UK, including 1.6 million in the past seven days.

About 64% of all adults in the UK have now received a booster or a third dose.

The figures were released by the four UK health agencies.

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Reduced train schedules due to pandemic staff shortage

Hundreds of daily trains are being cut from schedules in an attempt to improve reliability after weeks of short-term cancellations.

At least eight operators have already cut frequencies on many routes or will do so in the coming days in response to staff shortages linked to the pandemic.

Passengers traveling on New Years Eve also face major disruption due to industrial action.

In recent weeks, rail companies across Britain have cut trains on short notice due to self-isolation or staff discomfort.

Many have responded by posting condensed timetables in an attempt to create more certainty about which services they can and cannot operate.

Railways Minister Wendy Morton said: “While it is up to the operators to manage the schedules, I continue to monitor the situation closely. “

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MHRA Approved Covid Treatment

A Covid-19 treatment called Paxlovid has been approved by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK government has announced.

The move comes after the regulator found the drug to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate coronavirus infection, who are at increased risk of developing severe disease. .

Developed by Pfizer, Paxlovid is an antiviral medicine containing a combination of active ingredients, PF-07321332 and ritonavir, which works by inhibiting a protease necessary for the virus to replicate.

This prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low, and helping the body overcome viral infection.

The two active substances in Paxlovid are presented as separate tablets which are packaged together and taken together, twice a day orally for five days.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK has been a world leader in researching and deploying Covid-19 treatments for patients. This is further proven by the fact that the MHRA is one of the first in the world to endorse this life-saving antiviral.

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A third of Covid patients in England The NHS says “to be treated mainly for another condition”

A third of Covid patients in acute NHS trusts in England are primarily treated for another illness, new data reveals.

Of the 8,321 coronavirus patients as of December 28, 67% were being treated primarily for Covid-19, and the remaining 33% primarily for another condition.

This is down from 71% a week earlier and 74% in early December.

The number of people treated primarily for Covid-19 rose from 4,432 on December 21 to 5,578 on December 28 (a 26% jump), while those with Covid-19 but who were being treated primarily for something else rose. from 1,813 to 2,743 (a jump of 51%).

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Record 2.3 million Britons tested positive for Covid in one week

An estimated 2.3 million people in the UK had Covid-19 in the week ending December 2 – the highest on record.

That figure rose from 1.4 million during the week to Dec. 16, making it the highest number since comparable figures began in fall 2020, the Office for National Statistics said.

The ONS said the highest infection levels were seen in London, where around one in 15 people had Covid during this week.

About one in 25 had coronavirus that week in England, the statistics agency said.

COVID-19 infections compatible with the Omicron variant continued to rise rapidly in all four regions of the UK, he added, with Omicron now the most common variant in England and Scotland.

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Government should call emergency meeting on absences of NHS staff, say Lib Dems

The government is expected to call an emergency Covid Cobra meeting on increasing absences of NHS staff, the Lib Dems have said.

The number of NHS hospital staff in England absent due to Covid-19 has nearly doubled since the start of the month, according to new figures, to 24,632 by Boxing Day.

Party health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper said the numbers showed “hospital and ambulance services are stretched to breaking point under the weight of devastating absence of Covid staff.”

She called on the Prime Minister to call a Cobra meeting “without delay” because “our NHS is in desperate need of support”.

She added: “Now is the time or never for the government to bring a crisis that is quickly out of its control.”

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UK regulator approves new ‘life-saving’ anti-Covid drug

The UK has approved a new Covid treatment that has been found to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death for those vulnerable to the virus.

The treatment, called Paxlovid, can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 89% in high-risk adults with symptomatic COVID-19 infection, according to a clinical trial.

This was compared to a placebo group, when treatment was started within three days of symptoms.

Because Paxlovid can be taken by mouth, it means that treatment can be started at home rather than in the hospital.

“I hope today’s announcement will reassure those particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, for whom this treatment has been approved,” said Dr June Raine, chief executive of the regulator, MHRA.

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Hundreds of trains withdrawn from schedules to improve Covid service

Hundreds of trains are cut from schedules in an attempt to improve reliability after numerous cancellations of Covid staff shortages.

At least eight operators have already reduced their frequency on many routes or plan to do so as Covid isolation rules hit the workforce.

It comes as the main union RMT has said it is planning a strike on New Years Eve affecting CrossCountry’s services, resulting in the cancellation of the majority of its services.

A spokesperson for the industry body, the Rail Delivery Group, said operators “are working hard to provide reliable rail service” amid reduced staff.

He continued, “Some rail companies are introducing modified schedules due to much lower demand for rail services.”

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More than 4,500 NHS staff absent from London hospitals due to Covid

A total of 4,580 NHS staff in London hospital trusts were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 26, according to the latest figures.

That’s up 18% from the previous week (3,874) and nearly four times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new statistics from NHS England.

The number reached 5,994 on December 23.

The total includes staff who either had the coronavirus or needed to self-isolate.

Across England, 24,632 NHS staff in hospital trusts were absent due to Covid-19 on December 26, up 31% from 18,829 a week earlier and near the double the number at the start of the month (12,508).

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