Covid: Vaccine offered to all UK adults, says government
Every adult in the UK has been offered a Covid vaccine ahead of restrictions easing in England on Monday, the government says.
Around 88% of adults have had a first dose and around 68% have had both, according to the latest figures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the vaccination target had been met and it was an “extraordinary achievement”.
It comes as more than 50,000 daily cases were recorded on both Friday and Saturday – levels last seen in January.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Saturday he had tested positive for Covid-19 and was suffering “very mild” symptoms.
Mr Javid, who has had both doses of a vaccine, said a positive lateral flow test was later confirmed by a PCR test and he will isolate and work from home.
“You are the reason we are able to cautiously ease restrictions next week,
and return closer towards normal life.”
It is understood Mr Javid met Mr Johnson on Friday but it is not clear yet whether the prime minister will have to isolate.
- How are Covid rules changing on Monday?
- How many cases are there in my area?
- Clinics at Primark and Tate Modern in jabs push
Almost all legal restrictions on social contact are to be lifted in England on 19 July, but there have been warnings that the UK may need to re-impose measures in the autumn.
New travel rules will also come into effect, allowing people who are double-jabbed to return to the UK from amber list countries without quarantining – except for those returning to England, Wales and Scotland from France, because of concerns over the prevalence of the Beta variant there.
More than 46 million people have been given a jab since the UK’s Covid vaccine rollout began in December 2020.
Mr Johnson promised in February that all adults would be offered a first dose by the end of July, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last month that the government wanted two-thirds of UK adults to have had two by 19 July.
The prime minister urged anyone who had not booked their vaccine to do so and thanked those who had taken up their offer.
“You are the reason we are able to cautiously ease restrictions next week, and return closer towards normal life,” he said. “Now let’s finish the job.”
The prime minister has described England’s approach to easing lockdown as “cautious but irreversible”.
The UK recorded 54,674 cases on Saturday – following 51,870 new cases on Friday – as well as 41 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
The last time cases exceeded 50,000 was 15 January.
Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Commons health select committee, said on Saturday that the government was likely to have to reintroduce some controls in the autumn, as rising case numbers and hospital admissions meant the NHS was facing a “very serious” situation.
Meanwhile, England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, warned of a “bumpy winter” ahead.
He urged people to approach the easing of restrictions in “a cautious, steady, gradual way”.
Social distancing rules will end in England on Monday, although government guidelines advise face coverings should still be worn in enclosed spaces such as in shops and on public transport.
Scotland will move to level zero of Covid restrictions on Monday, meaning pubs and restaurants can open until midnight. However, limits on outdoor meetings will remain, the return of workers to offices will be delayed and face coverings will still be mandatory.
Most Covid rules in Wales are set to be scrapped from 7 August., but face coverings will still be required in most public places and on public transport.
In Northern Ireland, restrictions will be eased further on 26 July, if approved at a review on 22 July.