UK's Covid outbreak rebounds as infections rise 11% in a week to 48,374

UK's Covid outbreak rebounds as infections rise 11% in a week to 48,374
UK's Covid outbreak rebounds as infections rise 11% in a week to 48,374

Britain's Covid crisis appeared to pick up again today with cases and deaths increasing together for the first time in four days, according to Government statistics.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data show Britain recorded 48,374 new cases over the last 24 hours, up 10.8 per cent on last week's total of 43,676.

It was the first time the amount of positive tests increased week-on-week since last Friday, despite eight new cases of the supermutant Omicron variant being detected in England yesterday, bringing the UK's total to 22.

Likewise, the number of people dying with the virus increased 14.8 per cent to 171 today, up from 149 recorded last Wednesday.

But hospitalisations continued to fall, with 706 people admitted to hospital with coronavirus on Saturday, the latest date data is available for.

The figures come after Sajid Javid today admitted GPs' workload will be shifted to focus on the booster campaign in a dramatic U-turn — as fears grow that face-to-face appointments with doctors will once again take the hit.

The Health Secretary said getting third doses into people's arms to protect against the Omicron variant had become the 'new national mission', after months of strong-arming GPs into seeing more non-Covid patients in-person.

No10 last night set the target of offering more than 50million booster jabs to every adult by the end of January, which will involve massively ramping up the current drive which is barely reaching 2.5m per week.

GPs will once again be a key anchor of the vaccination programme and will be incentivised with doctors getting £15 for every jab delivered with a £5 bonus per shot delivered on Sundays and a £30 premium for jabs delivered to vulnerable people in their homes. 

UK's mammoth booster drive explained

- Every adult over the age of 18 in the UK will be offered a coronavirus booster jab by the end of January

- Jabs will be offered in five year descending age groups, starting with older adults and those who are most vulnerable before moving down 

- The NHS will contact people when they are eligible to book an appointment for a jab and are urging people not to come forward until they've been invited 

- Combined there will be nearly 3,000 sites across the UK offering vaccinations, nearly double current number 

- There will be 1,500 community pharmacy sites to administer jabs and all will be told to increase capacity  

- At least 400 military personnel will be deployed to assist NHS staff and volunteers to deliver the jabs  

- GPs and community pharmacists will be incentivised to deliver more jabs, with the payment for standard delivery of a vaccination increased to £15 a shot

- An extra £5 per shot will be offered to GPs and pharmacists if they work on Sundays

- A £30 premium will be offered to GPs and pharmacists for vaccinations delivered to people who are housebound

- The Care Quality Commission will continue a pause on routine inspections of general practice to free up clinicians' time  

- The NHS is looking at eliminating the 15 minute wait post-vaccination to increase the number of people who can access smaller venues   

- The NHS is recruiting for up to 10,000 new paid vaccinator roles as well as for an army of 'tens of thousands' of new volunteers to help with the drive

- Unpaid volunteers will guide people at vaccination centres and must work at least two shifts each month

- The UK has delivered 18million boosters already which is more than any other country apart from the US and China

- 53million will eventually be eligible and 22m are eligible and have not had a booster now  

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On another day of coronavirus chaos:

World Health Organization officials claimed most Omicron cases are 'mild' and there is no evidence the new variant has any impact on vaccine effectiveness against serious illness;  Israeli health chiefs said people who get a booster Pfizer Covid vaccine or who had their second jab within six months should still be highly protected against Omicron; Travel industry chiefs slammed Sage proposals to impose compulsory quarantine on all arrivals to the UK and force them to take pre-departure Covid tests regardless of whether or not they've been vaccinated  NHS Lanarkshire sent letters offering appointments to people in the most vulnerable categories with dates and times to receive their next jab; Tory MPs blasted the Government after it emerged new rules on self-isolation will be enshrined in law until March, sparking fears the curbs could remain in place far beyond a promised three week review;  NHS trusts in England advised staff not to have Christmas parties this year in case they catch the Omicron variant and can't come to work. 

The Government data showed 393,000 adults received their third booster vaccine dose yesterday, taking the total number of people fully vaccinated against the virus to 18.6million.

Some 30,500 received their first dose, while 32,000 were given second jabs.  

Asked if he would lighten the load for doctors who have complained about excess work, Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Yes —this is our new national mission in terms of the public health of this country there is nothing more important. 

'We are working at pace with GP representatives in the last two days, in how we can free up some of their time. I won't set that out now myself, it will be set out by NHS directly.'

There are fears on what impact re-prioritisation will have on face-to-face appointments with GPs which only last month crept up to 64 per cent last month, but are massively below pre-pandemic levels.

A report by the National Audit Office last night warned that there were up to 740,000 'missing' urgent GP referrals for suspected cancers during the pandemic. 

There are also concerns about the wider impact the shift could have on non-Covid care, with record A&E wait times, and heart attack and stroke patients facing average waits for an ambulance of nearly an hour.

Mr Javid himself warned last month that emergency care was being put under significant strain because patients were struggling to see GPs in person. 

And when he was made Health Secretary in June, Mr Javid said addressing the NHS backlogs were his 'top priority' and insisted the country 'has to learn to live with Covid'.

The Royal College of GPs warned that 'decisions will have to be made' because family doctors cannot keep pace with current demand and juggle the massive booster jab drive.

One NHS chief executive said getting GPs to lead the vaccination rollout was 'a very big ask, on top of many other very big asks', adding it would be extremely difficult to hit the January target due to a lack of medics, volunteers and facilities.

The above graph shows how the NHS waiting list could grow up to 2025. The National Audit Office warns if 50 per cent of missing patients return and demand grows at 3.2 per cent a year then the list could surge above 12million. But should the NHS manage to increase treatments dished out by more than 10 per cent a year then the list should stabilise at 8million in 2024 before falling slightly, they suggested

The above graph shows how the NHS waiting list could grow up to 2025. The National Audit Office warns if 50 per cent of missing patients return and demand grows at 3.2 per cent a year then the list could surge above 12million. But should the NHS manage to increase treatments dished out by more than 10 per cent a year then the list should stabilise at 8million in 2024 before falling slightly, they suggested

The proportion of cancer patients starting treatment within a month fell to the lowest level since records began in September, latest figures show. Records were started in 2009. The health service's own standards set out that 96 per cent of people should begin treatment, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, within 30 days of it being approved

The proportion of cancer patients starting treatment within a month fell to the lowest level since records began in September, latest figures show. Records were started in 2009. The health service's own standards set out that 96 per cent of people should begin treatment, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, within 30 days of it being approved

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday's guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday's guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

Despite the total A&E admissions in England being just two per cent more than August and  equal to the number of people who came forward during the same month (October) in 2019, 7,059 patients were forced to wait more than 12 hours to be seen at A&E. The record-high figure is 40 per cent more than the 5,024 forced to wait that long one month earlier

Despite the total A&E admissions in England being just two per cent more than August and  equal to the number of people who came forward during the same month (October) in 2019, 7,059 patients were forced to wait more than 12 hours to be seen at A&E. The record-high figure is 40 per cent more than the 5,024 forced to wait that long one month earlier

The NHS waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has reached 5.83million, official data revealed today marking the eleventh month in a row that the figure has hit a record high. Some 1.6million more Britons were waiting for elective surgery — such as hip and keen operations — at the end of September compared to the start of the pandemic

The NHS waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has reached 5.83million, official data revealed today marking the eleventh month in a row that the figure has hit a record high. Some 1.6million more Britons were waiting for elective surgery — such as hip and keen operations — at the end of September compared to the start of the pandemic

The NHS has long struggled to meet its recommended ambulance response times for Category 2 incidents which include medical emergencies such as strokes and severe burns but the last few months months have seen unprecedented rise with patients waiting nearly an hour on average for an ambulance after calling 999

The NHS has long struggled to meet its recommended ambulance response times for Category 2 incidents which include medical emergencies such as strokes and severe burns but the last few months months have seen unprecedented rise with patients waiting nearly an hour on average for an ambulance after calling 999  

So when CAN you book? NHS walk-in centres promote boosters for ALL over 18s from Saturday and GPs offer jabs next week...but health chiefs are STILL yet to call under-40s

The big push to offer boosters to all British adults is already in chaos today with two-month waits for jabs online while some GPs and NHS walk-in centres are already ignoring Government guidance and giving jabs to all over-18s immediately when the elderly or vulnerable still can't get one before Christmas or within 30 miles of their home.

MailOnline has been inundated with emails from readers who have been eligible for a jab for weeks or even months but have been unable to get an appointment at all — or until the new year — because a third of mass vaccinations centres have closed

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