The UK on January 8 recorded nearly 1,325 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test - the highest single-day record since the pandemic began. The figures bring Britain’s official death toll from coronavirus to 79,833, while the country also recorded another 68,053 new cases. London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" and the Public Health England (PHE) said that the number of deaths would “continue to rise” until the country stops the spread.
The news of the highest death toll comes as the government launched a new campaign in England urging people to “act like you’ve got” the virus. According to BBC, the campaign, including an advert fronted by England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty, is intended to remind the public COVID-19 is spreading fast, with a large number of people showing no symptoms. Whitty said that amid the rapid spread of the virus, many people are at risk of serious disease and it is also placing a lot of pressure on the NHS.
The grim news also came just hours after the UK regulator authorised the third vaccine for emergency use. The UK government had ordered an additional 10 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine which has shown 94% efficacy against the highly-infectious disease in the final phase of clinical trials. Prior to this, UK Prime minister Boris Johnson’s government had already ordered seven million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Even though additional 10 million doses of the jab are likely to follow, reportedly, it won’t be available until March because the doses are being manufactured firstly in the US. Further, it would also take a few months before the European manufacturing facilities will be ready to distribute the vaccines.
Meanwhile, before Moderna’s COVID-19 jab, UK became the first nation in the world to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and has already begun its roll out along with the ones developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca. On January 7, Johnson had informed that nearly 1.26 million doses have been administered in England, 113,000 in Scotland, 49,000 in Wales, along with at least 46,000 in Northern Ireland as the new COVID-19 strain pushes the nation into the toughest lockdown since the pandemic began last year.