Live Blog16 Jan 2021, 23:58Updated: 16 Jan 2021, 23:58
BORIS JOHNSON urged Brits not to relax despite 3m vaccinations being handed out - and tightened Britain's borders over virus mutation fears.
At a press conference yesterday, Boris Johnson announced the corridors would be closing at 4am on Monday morning, with no date set for when they might reopen.
The Prime Minister made clear that the borders are being closed over fears new mutant covid strains, such as the South Africa and Brazil variants, could impact on the mass vaccination rollout in the UK.
Although there is nothing yet to indicate the current jabs won't work on the new strains, it remains a possibility and axing the travel corridors is a vital step to minimise the risk of a new vaccine-resistant surge.
Boris did deliver some positive news too, revealing that 3.2 million Brits have now had the vaccine.
Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.
People arriving in Britain may be forced to quarantine in a hotel with facial-recognition tech ensuring they do not leave their rooms, a report says.
Downing Street wants to lockdown UK borders in a bid to stop the malignant spread of the new mutant coronavirus strains – some of which might be immune to current Covid vaccines.
MEXICO CONFIRMS MORE THAN 21,000 NEW CASES AND 1,106 FURTHER DEATHS
Mexico posted a record spike in coronavirus cases on Friday, with 21,366 newly confirmed infections, about double the daily rate of increase just a week ago. The country also recorded 1,106 more deaths.
It was unclear if the spike was due to the presence of the U.K. virus variant, of which only one case has so far been confirmed in a visiting British citizen.
The country has nearly 1.61 million confirmed total infections and registered more than 139,000 confirmed deaths.
The countrys low testing rate means that is an undercount, and official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000.
324,233 JABS GIVEN OUT IN ENGLAND ON SATURDAY ALONE
A whopping 324,233 jabs were given yesterday alone - the highest number in a 24-hour period so far.
And over 32million over-50s could be vaccinated by the end of March under new Government plants to ramp up the jab roll-out, it has been reported.
The Government is said to be preparing to more than double the pace of the current programme next week to up to half a million jabs a day.
OVER 18'S COULD HAVE JAB 'BY END OF JUNE' WITH PLANS FOR 5M JABS A WEEK
All Brits over the age of 18 could have the Covid Vaccine “by the end of June" with plans for five million people to receive jabs every week.
Senior Government figures are optimistic that all adults in the UK could receive the jab in time for summer.
Whitehall sources believe the target can realistically be met as they plan to vaccinate five million people a week within month.
A source told The Daily Telegraph: "All over-18s by June – yes."
They added: "It is delivery, delivery, delivery.”
TESCO STAFF ON EDGE AFTER FEMALE MANAGER DIES AND 50 STAFF 'ILL OR SELF-ISOLATING' IN OLD TRAFFORD
Tesco workers have been left feeling “on edge” after a female manager died during a Covid outbreak.
Some 50 staff working at the store in Stretford, Greater Manchester, are now ill or isolating, while the rest must test negative before every shift.
Security staff are also separating family members as they enforce a strict one shopper rule at the store in the shadow of Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.
WATCH: HEARTBREAKING VID OF SOBBING DAD, 53, FIGHTING FOR LIFE IN HOSPITAL AS HE BEGS BRITS TO STAY INDOORS
Heartbreaking vid of sobbing dad, 53, fighting for life in hospital as he begs people to 'stay home'
DENMARK CONFIRMS FIRST CASE OF SOUTH AFFRICAN COVID-19 VARIANT
Denmark has registered its first case of infection with a more transmissible coronavirus variant.
The country's State Serum Institute confirmed in a statement on Saturday the case had a Covid mutation first found in South Africa, known as B.1.351/501Y.
CHINA CONFIRMS 130 NEW COVID CASES AND NO DEATHS
China on Saturday reported 130 new confirmed coronavirus infections and no deaths.
The National Health Commission said 90 of those confirmed cases were in Hebei province, adjacent to Beijing, where the countrys biggest recent outbreak occurred.
Another 23 cases were in Heilongjiang province in the northeast, the commission said. There were 15 infections that were determined to have been contracted abroad.
China's death toll stands at 4,635, with a total of 88,118 confirmed cases, the commission said.
US GOVERNMENT AIDE SAID MOST CREDIBLE THEORY OF COVID ORIGIN IS WUHAN LAB
Last night, Pompeo called on the WHO to investigate the lab in question, just one day after a team from the organisation landed in Wuhan.
The team is set to look into the 'wet market' originally linked to early infections, but there are believed to be no plans to investigate whether the virus accidentally escaped from the lab.
He said: "Beijing continues to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one."
COVID PANDEMIC HAS REDUCED NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS BY 2M, SAYS UN REPORT
A new UN report estimates the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of international migrants by 2 million by the middle of 2020 because of border closings and a halt to travel worldwide an estimated 27% decrease in expected growth.
Clare Menozzi, principal author of the report by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, says for the second half of 2020 we have a sense that it will be probably comparable, if not more so.
She says international migration had been projected to grow by 7 to 8 million between mid-2019 and mid-2020. Border closures and travel clampdown starting in March, as the pandemic circled the globe, meant zero growth for four months, Menozzi says.
By August 2020, Population Division Director John Wilmoth noted, there had been more than 80,000 travel restrictions imposed by 219 countries or territories across the world.
Wilmoth says according to estimates, the number of international migrants worldwide reached 281 million persons in 2020, up from 173 million in 2000, They account for 3.6% of the total global population, he says.
MIKE POMPEO CLAIMS HE 'HAS PROOF' COVID CAME FROM WUHAN LAB
THE US claims it has explosive new evidence that proves Covid-19 leaked from a Wuhan research lab.
New docs reveal scientists in Wuhan fell ill with Covid-like symptoms in late 2019 - months before the pandemic began to ravage the world.
But now, secretary of state Mike Pompeo has demanded the World Health Organisation launch an investigation into the possibility that Covid was an "accidental" lab leak.
Accusations of a cover-up by the Chinese government have been repeatedly dismissed and pressures for a full investigation into the lab suspected of being the source of coronavirus have so far been resisted.
WATCH: COVID BREATHALYSER THAT DETECTS VIRUS IN MINUTES IS '98% ACCURATE'
Covid breathalyser that detects bug in just minutes is '98% accurate' and can be 'used by anyone'
A group of Brit trainee ski instructors blamed for an outbreak of Covid 19 in an Austrian village after non stop partying will be quizzed by police today.
Officials have stepped in after at least 17 of the 60 strong group tested positive for the bug after travelling to the pretty resort just as details of the mutant UK variant emerged.
BRITAIN REPORTS THIRD HIGHEST DAILY DEATH TOLL - BUT CASES DROP
Britain reported its third-highest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, but the number of new infections dropped to its lowest level this year.
The number of people recorded as having died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test rose by 1,295 to 88,590.
Some 41,346 people tested positive, down from 55,761 on Friday and the lowest daily total since Dec. 27.
ITALY RECORDS 475 DEATHS AND 16,310 NEW CASES IN 24 HOURS
Italy reported 475 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, against 477 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 16,310 from 16,146.
Italy has registered 81,800 COVID-19 deaths since the virus came to light last February, the second-highest toll in Europe and the sixth-highest in the world.
The country has also reported 2.369 million cases to date, the health ministry said.
BRAZILIAN CORONAVIRUS VARIANT LIKELY TO BE IN UK ALREADY, TOP SCIENTIST WARNS
A concerning new strain of coronavirus is likely to already be in the UK despite the Government imposing a travel ban from affected countries, a leading epidemiologist has warned.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he would find it "unusual" if the second of two new variants from Brazil was not already present, despite it not yet being detected.
The first variant has a small number of mutations and eight genomically confirmed cases of this variant have been identified in the UK.
The second, which has been detected in Manaus and in travellers arriving in Japan, has not been detected in the UK so far.
The Government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde on Thursday in response to the emergence of the new variant, having previously banned travel from South Africa because of a new Covid strain.
SPAIN: GOVERNMENT PLEDGES TO HIT VACCINE TARGET DESPITE DELAY TO DISTRIBUTION OF PFIZER JAB
Spain's health minister today said the government is standing by its pledge to vaccinate a large part of its population by the summer despite the delay in the distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Spain reported 49,197 new cases on Friday, its highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
Minister Salvador Illa says although Spain will only receive 56% of the expected doses next week from Pfizer, Spains vaccination program has reached cruising speed.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Friday it will temporarily reduce vaccine deliveries for three to four weeks to European countries while it upgrades production capacity.
Illa says despite this hiccup there is no change to our supply calendar. Between now and the summer we will ensure that 70% of Spaniards receive the vaccine.
GERMANY CARRIES OUT MORE THAN A MILLION VACCINATIONS AS CASES AND DEATHS RUN HIGH
Germany has used over on e million vaccinations to date, officials claims on Saturday, as new infections and deaths in the country remain high.
Figures released by the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases reveal nearly 1.05 million vaccinations had been recorded - 79,759 more than a day earlier in the nation of 83 million people.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country's 16 state governors will consult Tuesday on how to proceed with lockdown measures, which are currently due to expire on Jan. 31.
On Saturday, Germany recorded 18,678 confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours and another 980 deaths.
There has been 139 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days -- far above the maximum of 50 authorities want to reach.
INFECTIONS DOWN BY 23% AFTER 3.5M RECEIVE ONE OR TWO VACCINE JABS
More than 3.5million people in the UK have now received one or two jabs - and infections have plunged by 23 per cent over the past seven days.
Ten more mass vaccination centres will also open next week alongside those already running in places such as cathedrals and former nightclubs.
And more people have now been vaccinated against Covid than have tested positive in the country - with another 324,000 jabs given yesterday, the highest daily number yet.
LIFTING THIRD NATIONAL LOCKDOWN TOO SOON COULD BE 'A DISASTER', SAYS SAGE EXPERT
Today, an expert said England's third national lockdown could drag on for weeks to come - and easing restrictions in February would be a "disaster".
Sage scientist Professor John Edmunds today warned if Boris Johnson lifts shutdowns too soon, the NHS will face "enormous pressure".
Prof Edmunds told the BBC: "I think it would be a disaster if we removed restrictions in, say, the end of February when we have gone through this first wave of the vaccination."
WATCH: UK CORONAVIRUS DEATHS RISE BY 1,295 IN 24 HOURS
UK coronavirus deaths rise by 1,295 with fatalities over 1,000 for 5th day in a row and 41,346 more cases
HOSPITAL UNITS CLOSE WITH STAFF REDEPLOYED TO COVID FRONTLINE
Two hospital units are temporarily closing with staff as staff are redeployed to the coronavirus frontline.
The minor injury units (MIUs) in Paulton, Somerset and Trowbridge, Wiltshire, will temporarily close from this coming Monday (January 18), Somerset Live reports.
All services will be suspended at Paulton, which is based at Paulton Memorial Hospital, while Trowbridge, based at Trowbridge Community Hospital, will be closed for appointments via 111.
However, it will be open for specific services, including dressing clinics.
"Mounting pressure" on the NHS has prompted bosses to divert clinical staff to the COVID-19 effort, as cases and admissions continue to climb at a rapid pace.
MEDICS AND POLICE APPEAL TO PUBLIC TO STAY AT HOME OVER THIS 'CRUCIAL WEEKEND'
Doctors and Police are encouraging people not to bend the rules this weekend to help stop the spread of the virus and to reduce the pressure on the NHS.
According to new stats, the virus is spreading 50%-70% faster than at its peak.
Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said: "We are at the most dangerous stage of this pandemic and each of us has a personal responsibility to do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“The easiest way to keep our family and friends safe is to stay at home.
"If you have to go out ask yourself if your journey is essential, and if it is, then think about the safest possible way to do that to minimise contact with others.
“Whilst the vast majority of us follow the rules and stay at home police officers will be visible in communities tackling those who are not playing their part.
"We will not hesitate to issue fines to those deliberately breaching the regulations with no regard for the safety of others."