CORONAVIRUS infections could be twice what official figures suggest, new modelling data has warned.
Speaking at a briefing this evening, Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance revealed that England could now be seeing between 53,000 and 90,000 new coronavirus cases per day.
The news comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier revealed Stoke-on-Trent, Slough and Coventry are to be put into Tier 2 with cases on the rise in these areas.
Earlier, Boris Johnson addressed the nation this afternoon after firms battered by Tier 2 lockdowns were handed billions in support.
While Tier 3 measures force most pubs and restaurants to close, most have access to the Job Support Scheme that sees the Government pay two thirds of their workers’ wages.
But businesses in Tier 2 areas have not been able to claim that level of support, despite the fact Tier 2 government restrictions ban households mixing in those areas.
This "worst of both worlds" scenario essentially means you cannot sit inside a pub with friends in a Tier 2 "high risk" zone - a measure that will have seen a steep decline in the number of people visiting pubs and restaurants.
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The number of daily coronavirus infections in the UK could be as much as 90,000 cases a day.
Sir Patrick Vallance warned during a Downing Street press conference this afternoon projections show positive cases could be rising at a rapid rate.
The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser said: “Modelling consensus suggests between 53,000-90,000 infections per day are occurring – with that you expect to see an increase in hospitalisations as well.
“The number of infections overall across the country continues to increase.
“The hospital admissions, an increase in number of patients admitted to hospital every day, is up towards 1,000 now.”
Sir Patrick added that things are “progressing well” and said we need to understand how to use the vaccine in different groups before it is rolled out.
“There are vaccines that produce an immune response, they're in phase three clinical trials, we should be seeing some data read-outs over the course of this year,” he said.
“I remain of the view that the possibility of wider-spread use of vaccines isn't going to be until spring or so next year by the time we get enough doses and enough understanding of the outputs to use them.
“Now we may get a few doses this side of Christmas, maybe something could happen, but I think we should more realistically be looking at spring, and of course there are no guarantees until the studies have read out.”
The first coronavirus vaccine doses could be available before Christmas, the government's chief scientist has said.
Sir Patrick Vallance said widespread doses of any effective jab could be rolled out by Spring.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today he said he “wouldn't speculate” on how effective the vaccines would be and said the UK is in a good place when it comes to development.
“To be where we are now is remarkable,” he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he “really hoped” the UK would make progress with a vaccine and was glad that Sir Patrick was “so optimistic”.
But he warned the country “cannot rely” on the vaccine solving all problems related to the virus.
UK BOOSTS BUSINESS AID AMID PRESSURE TO EASE VIRUS IMPACT
U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is increasing subsidies for bars, pubs and restaurants hammered by strict new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, amid criticism that the government has failed to protect small businesses and workers from the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.
The new funding, which could cost 13 billion pounds ($17 billion) over the next six months, is aimed at businesses that are struggling to attract customers because of restrictions on social interactions, even if the government doesn't order them to close.
It comes just a month after Sunak unveiled his job protection” plan, which business owners said was so inadequate that it gave them an incentive to lay off workers rather than keep them on the payroll.
UK RECORDS SLIGHT DROP TO 21,242 NEW COVID CASES ON THURSDAY
A further 21,242 coronavirus cases were reported in Britain on Thursday, down from a record 26,688 cases a day earlier, daily government statistics showed.
There were a further 189 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down slightly from 191 the day before.
SIP ON THIS
A Lancashire pub owner has started selling meals for 1p so he can stay open during the Tier Three lockdown.
Pubs and bars that don't serve main meals are forced to shut in areas that have been put in the government's “very high” risk category.
Andy MacDonald, 36, is the landlord of the Ships and Giggles pub in Preston, which was placed under the strictest Covid rules last Friday.
To avoid shutting down, he began serving free fish nuggets and chips on Saturday but council chiefs said he was flouting the rules because the food technically wasn't being sold.
From today, the determined landlord will now charge punters 1p for meals to get around the regulations.
Andy said: “I'm providing a free meal for people who don't have much – and we've been told we can't do that. It's an absolute disgrace.
Another 21,242 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours – a drop of 5,000 on yesterday's highest-ever daily total.
Despite that, cases have risen 12 per cent week-on-week – with Wednesday seeing 26,688 positive tests.
And another 189 people have lost their lives to the virus as the UK's grim total reached 44,347.
ENGLAND ADDS CANARY ISLANDS, MALDIVES AND DENMARK TO SAFE TRAVEL LIST
England will Spain's Canary Islands, the Maldives, Denmark and the Greek island of Mykonos to its safe travel list from Oct. 25, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Thursday, meaning arrivals from those destinations will not face quarantine.
Liechtenstein was removed from the safe travel list, Shapps added.
TOTAL UK COVID-19 DEATHS AT 44,347
The Government said a further 189 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Thursday. This brings the UK total to 44,347.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 59,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
NEW LOCKDOWN MEASURES WILL BE 'SEVERE' ON PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES, SAYS TAOISEACH
The Taoiseach has said the new six-week lockdown will be “severe” on people and businesses.
Micheal Martin said an important objective of the lockdown was to allow people to return to their daily routines in December.
He called on the public to work together and observe the regulations in the hope that some businesses could return before Christmas.
He said: “The six-week lockdown is very severe on many people, on many businesses. The virus is on the rise across Europe.
“The Government has continued to allocate the resources necessary to the health service, both in terms of building up testing and tracing capacity and also hospital capacity. I believe that if we all work together we can achieve this.”
JOHNSON SAYS ANOTHER NATIONAL LOCKDOWN WOULD BE 'VERY DAMAGING'
Asked whether England would look at what lessons could be learned from circuit-breakers in Wales and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson rejected the idea of another “national lockdown”.
The Prime Minister said: “I think that that really would be economically, socially, psychologically really very damaging and difficult for the country.”
LATEST ECONOMIC SUPPORT PACKAGE WAS IN RESPONSE TO REINTRODUCTION OF SOME RESTRICTIONS SAYS SUNAK
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he brought in the latest economic support package in response to the reintroduction of some coronavirus restrictions.
He told a No 10 press conference that when the earlier Job Support Scheme was designed, it was at a time when controls were being eased.
“It was done over the summer with a view to the economy being open and restrictions being lifted. Obviously the last few weeks, that has not been as those businesses had expected,” Mr Sunak said.
“Those restrictions were coming back, they were having a cumulative effect on the ground, particularly in Tier 2 areas, particularly in hospitality.”
PM: We have seen plenty of great local leadership. Take a test of you have symptoms and follow guidelines.
The PM says going back to national lockdown will be “economically and psychologically damaging”.
PM: We can't rely on vaccines. We have to do all the other things we are doing to keep infections down.
VALLANCE: Will not speculate how effective vaccines will be. Aim of vaccine is to be able to lift measures put in place like social distancing, masks.
SUNAK: Meeting with hospitality business was held in a restaurant closed to public.
SUNAK: Government trying to protect jobs and employment in “this difficult time”
PM: Negotiations between local leaders was all about fairness to make sure everybody got the same package.
PM: If people who test positive don't self-isolate, the course for test and trace will be lost.
VALLANCE: Wide use of vaccines will not be in use until the Spring of next year. There is a good progress in terms of the development of vaccines.
PM: Improvement in mortality rate assures we will get through this in due course. We have to use same tools we have; social distancing and restrictions. It is “common sensical” to do.
PM: It is far better to keep economy going so that the UK can bounce back as strongly as possible.