Live Blog30 Jan 2021, 23:52Updated: 30 Jan 2021, 23:52
BORIS Johnson plans to relax rules on exercising during England's third national lockdown - but gyms, hairdressers and shops could stay shut until April.
Pubs could remain closed until May as the UK battles through the pandemic.
However, the PM has asked ministers to draft plans to relax currently strict rules on exercise.
Possible options on the table include allowing people to meet one friend more than once in 24 hours.
The news comes as official figures sow the R-rate in England is falling.
The R-rate — the number of people each Covid case goes on to infect — has dipped from low of 0.8 last week to a low of 0.7.
And there are now an average of 28,645 new infections each day — down from 34,133 a week ago, the ZOE Covid Symptom Study UK Infection Survey said.
It is the first time infections have been below 30,000 since January 9.
Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis...
VACCINE UPDATE FOR JANUARY 30, 2021: 8.3 MILLION RECEIVE JAB
Coronavirus vaccine - 8.38 million receive jab
SOCIAL DISTANCING COULD REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL END OF 2021
Social distancing rules could remain in place for the rest of the year unless the Covid vaccine can halt a "third death spike", ministers have said.
Experts fear the UK could suffer another spike in coronavirus deaths unless vaccines significantly halt transmission rates.
PM URGED TO SEND LEFTOVER COVID VACCINES TO REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Boris Johnson has been urged to send over leftover Covid vaccines to the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said the UK could help "our neighbours in the Republic" by offering spare AtraZeneca jabs to the country.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, she said: "Because of their membership of the EU, they have not been able to access the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the way, I am sure, they would have liked to if they had been a sovereign country."
The EU caused outrage on Friday when it invoked Article 16 which stopped vaccines travelling from the bloc into the UK.
Almost 500,000 more Covid jabs were handed out across the UK yesterday - meaning 8,859,372 vaccines have now been given.
Another 487,756 first doses were given on January 29 along with 2,178 second doses - raising vaccine numbers by 489,934 in one day.
Government data up to January 29 shows 8,859,372 Covid jabs have been given in the UK so far, with 8,378,940 people receiving first doses and 480,432 second doses.
It means 57 per cent of the first four priority groups have received at least one dose.Government data up to January 29 shows 8,859,372 Covid jabs have been given in the UK so far
GERMANY TO RECEIVE 5 MILLION DOSES OF COVID VACCINES IN NEXT THREE WEEKS
Germany says drugmakers will deliver at least 5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to the country in the next three weeks.
The Health Ministry says on Twitter that Germany has already received 3.5 million doses in the past five weeks and administered 2.2 million shots.
Health Minister Jens Spahn says the new figures for deliveries from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca were good news after a difficult start. Germany has given the first shot to about 2.2% of its 83 million population. Nearly half a million people had received both shots by Saturday. Its recommended the second shot be given 21 to 28 days after the first.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has summoned the governors of Germanys 16 states, which are responsible for organizing the vaccine drive, to discuss the slow rollout on Monday.
In her weekly video address Saturday, she acknowledged families have had a particular burden in the current lockdown but indicated its still too early for Germany to reopen schools and daycare centers.
WATCH: MOMENT COPS STORM APARTMENT AND FINE 26 'RIDICULOUS' POKER PARTY
Moment cops storm apartment and fine 26 'ridiculous' poker players at illegal lockdown party
BRAZIL'S NEIGHBOURS BEGIN RESTRICTING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL OVER CONCERNS OF VARIANT
Brazil's neighbours have started restricting international travel amid concern about the spread of a new coronavirus variant that experts say may be more contagious.
Guyanas government closed its border with South Americas largest country on Friday, two days after Colombia halted passenger flights to and from Brazil.
Both nations cited the new variant as their reason.
Argentina's government decided to half the number of flights to Brazil starting February 1, according to a January 27 report cited by state news agency Telam.
Peru on Jan. 26 banned air traffic from Brazil. The governor of Perus Loreto department bordering Brazil called on the government to shut down land crossings, too.
TORY MAY STILL FACE PARTY ACTION AFTER REFUSING TO APOLOGISE FOR COVID REMARKS
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne may still face action after refusing to apologise for telling vaccine sceptics to "persist" with their campaign against coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Michael Gove has hinted.
The Cabinet member said to "watch this space" on Saturday when asked if the former minister was being let off without disciplinary action by the Conservative party.
Sir Desmond has so far declined to retract his remarks despite Mr Gove branding him "completely out of order", and Home Secretary Priti Patel saying he was "thoroughly wrong".
The Conservative Party has so far declined to suspend the lockdown-sceptic MP but has asked him to attend meetings with scientific advisers.
Sir Desmond told the Save Our Rights UK group, which argues wrongly that vaccines are "being rushed through safety testing" and has posted discussions online with conspiracy theorist David Icke, that some Covid-19 figures have been "manipulated" and called on campaigners to "persist" in their campaign.
WHO TEAM VISITS SECOND WUHAN HOSPITAL AS CHINA INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE
Members of a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic have visited another Wuhan hospital that treated early coronavirus patients.
The facility was one of the city's first to deal with patients suffering from a then-unknown virus and is a key part of the epidemiological history of the disease.
The teams first face-to-face meetings with Chinese scientists took place on Friday, before the experts visited another early site of the outbreak, the Hubei Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital.
WHO says all hypotheses are on the table as the team visits hospitals, markets and labs.
It is a politically charged mission as China seeks to avoid blame for alleged early missteps.
PORTUGAL CLOSE TO RUNNING OUT OF ICU BED
Portugal said on Saturday it only had seven vacant beds left in intensive care units (ICUs) set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland, as a surge in infections prompted the authorities to send some critical patients to Portuguese islands.
Health Ministry data showed that, out of 850 ICU beds allocated to COVID-19 cases on its mainland, a record 843 beds were now occupied. The nation of 10 million people has an additional 420 ICU beds for those with other ailments.
The ministry said the number of daily infections was 12,435, dipping from Thursday's record, while there were 293 deaths.
Portugal, which has so far reported a total of 12,179 COVID-19 deaths and 711,018 cases, has the world's highest seven-day rolling average of cases and deaths per capita, according to data tracker www.ourworldindata.org.
The Justice Ministry said on Friday its institute of forensic medicine, whose role includes handling autopsies for the police and others, had requested a refrigerator truck to preserve bodies as funeral homes were not able to take them fast enough.
ITALY'S MEDICINES BOARD APPROVES ASTRAZENECA VACCINE FOR USE - SOURCE
The vaccine, which received a green light by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday, is the third cleared for use in the European Union.
The others approved for use in the EU are the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech and one by Moderna.
The Aifa source said the regulator recommended "the preferential use" of the vaccine in people between the ages of 18 and 55 years old.
EMA had said there were not yet enough results for people over the age of 55 to determine how well it worked in that group.
But it said the vaccine could still be given to older people.
OFFICIAL DATA SHOWS 8.8 MILLION JABS GIVEN IN UK SO FAR
Government data up to January 29 shows of the 8,859,372 jabs given in the UK so far, 8,378,940 were first doses - a rise of 487,756 on the previous day's figures.
Some 480,432 were second doses, an increase of 2,178 on figures released the previous day.
The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 359,656.
Based on the latest figures, an average of 413,816 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government's target of 15 million first doses by February 15.
GOVE SUGGESTS ACTION COULD STILL BE TAKEN OVER DESMOND SWAYNE COMMENTS ON VACCINES
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested action could still be taken against Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne after he refused to apologise over controversial remarks to vaccine sceptics.
Asked why the former minister was let off without disciplinary action, Mr Gove told reporters: "Watch this space.
"I can't pre-empt any decision-making, but I think it's important that the processes that the Conservative Party has are in place in order to make sure, as I'm sure he will, that Sir Desmond apologises and recognises he made a mistake."
'WELL RESPECTED' HEALTHCARE WORKER IN WALES DIES AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
A hospital in Wales has paid tribute to a "caring, kind and well-respected" healthcare worker who died after testing positive for coronavirus.
Swansea Bay University Health Board said Helen Mills, 56, who worked in the minor injury unit at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, provided "much happiness and laughter" to her colleagues.
A statement released by the health board on Saturday said Mrs Mills, who lived in Port Talbot, had worked as a healthcare support worker in the unit since 2008.
"Her colleagues at the minor injury unit described Helen, aged 56, as very caring, kind and a well-respected member of the MIU family," the statement added.
"She always provided excellent care to the many thousands of patients she met during her career. Her dry sense of humour brought much happiness and laughter to the team. Although her loss has brought great sadness to us, the memories of Helen will never be forgotten."
FURTHER 17 DEATHS WITH COVID-19 IN NORTHERN IRELAND
A further 17 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.
This brings the toll in the region to 1,831 as hospitals remained under pressure on Saturday, caring for 713 Covid-positive patients, including 69 in ICU.
While strict lockdown measures remain in force across Northern Ireland, the number of new cases continues to rise each day.
On Saturday, the Department of Health confirmed another 455 positive cases.
There have been 3,841 new cases across the last seven days and 103,534 across the pandemic to date.
BRITAIN RECORDS 1,200 NEW COVID DEATHS AND 23,275 CASES
Britain recorded a 1,200 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, down from 1,245 the day before, and a further 23,275 cases of the disease, also a decrease from a day earlier.
The figures record deaths of those who tested positive for the coronavirus within the past 28 days.
Official data showed that 8.38 million people have been given the first dose of a vaccine, up from a figure of 7.89 million people announced on Friday.
UK CONFIDENT OF PFIZER AND ASTRAZENECA VACCINE SUPPLIES AFTER CALL WITH EU CHIEF
Despite criticism from the World Health Organisation, the EU is pushing ahead with imposing controls on vaccines manufactured within member states, which it is feared could hinder the UK's access to further supplies, particularly to the Belgian-made Pfizer jab.
Brussels has also demanded doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in British plants, to solve its supply shortage issues, as member states have been forced to pause or delay their rollouts.
But on Saturday, Mr Gove told reporters: "The Prime Minister was very clear, we've entered into contractual arrangements with AstraZeneca and Pfizer and we expect those arrangements to be honoured.
"And President von der Leyen was clear that she understood exactly the UK Government's position, so we expect that those contracts will be honoured, we expect that vaccines will continue to be supplied."
Mr Gove added: "We're confident that we can proceed with our vaccine programmes exactly as planned."
EXPERTS WELCOME VACCINE RESULTS AHEAD OF ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST UK COVID DEATH
Scientists have welcomed the "extremely encouraging" results of Janssen's new single-shot Covid-19 vaccine trial announced less than 24 hours after the Novavax jab also appeared effective.
The vaccine, developed by the Johnson & Johnson-owned pharmaceutical firm, is 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe coronavirus 28 days after vaccination, trial results show.
Novavax announced late on Thursday that its jab was 89% effective following a clinical trial run in the UK.
The results come as January 30 marks the anniversary of the first known death involving Covid-19 in the UK, that of 84-year-old Peter Attwood, from Chatham in Kent.
One year on, the Government on Friday said the death total now stands at 104,371 after reporting a further 1,245 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
WATCH: EU SLAMMED OVER 'TRUMPIAN' PLAN TO BLOCK COVID JABS ENTERING THE UK AT IRISH BORDER
EU slammed over ‘Trumpian’ plan to block Covid vaccine jabs entering the UK at Irish border
EU BACKS DOWN ON VACCINE EXPORT BAN
The EU has backed down on its vaccine export ban following their explosive “Trumpian” plans to block 3.5million life-saving Covid jabs from entering the UK.
European leaders have yet again sensationally climbed down in the vaccine war – after being met with fury over the “grave” bid to block jabs on the Irish border.
The 3.5million life-saving jabs ordered from a Pfizer BioNTech in Belgium will now enter the UK, Ursula von der Leyen said today.
The bloc scrapped the export ban following a call between the EU President and Boris Johnson.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said this afternoon the EU “recognises they made a mistake” and “stepped back” following the conversation between the two leaders.
8.3MILLION PEOPLE NOW VACCINATED IN THE UK
Matt Hancock has shared the news that 8.3million Brits have now received a COVID jab.
In comparison, 480,432 people have been given their second dose.