The Prime Minister was joined by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.
Mr Johnson began his address by praising NHS and care workers who he says are “grappling” with the new coronavirus variant, and stated that more than 2% of the population are now infected.
He admitted that he is trying to “put an invisible shield” around the elderly and vulnerable in the form of vaccination, and announced that the number of individuals to have been vaccinated across the UK now stands at 1.3 million, thanks to both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs.
He added that this means that nearly one in four of one of the most vulnerable groups will in two-three weeks have a “significant degree of immunity”.
Reiterating a pledge he made yesterday, Mr Johnson confirmed that by 15h February, the NHS is committed to offering a jab to everyone in the top four priority groups, and to help meet that target, 595 GP-led sites are providing vaccines, with 180 coming on stream later in the week.
With hospitals also helping, there will be nearly 1,000 locations administering jabs by the end of the week.
He stated that seven vaccination centres will open in sports stadiums and exhibition centres from next week, and also promised that daily vaccine data updates will be published from Monday for “public transparency”.
The conference follows the confirmation earlier today that the number of people having positive for COVID-19 in the UK has increased by 60,916, with another 830 deaths.
As of Monday, there were 26,626 COVID patients in hospital in England – an increase of over 30% in one week and now more than 40% higher than the peak of the first wave of infections last April – and there has also been a near 25% increase in the number of deaths in the past seven days, compared to the previous week.
The conference this evening also comes after it was confirmed that the UK’s coronavirus alert level has been raised from 4 to 5 for the first time since the system was set out in May of last year, with Level 5 or “red” meaning there is a “material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed”, compared to Level 4 when transmission of the virus is “high or rising exponentially”.
The COVID-19 alert level refers to the threat of the epidemic, and is separate from the tiering system in England.
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For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Police seize 17 dogs after 6-year-old girl is injured during attack in Carrington
17 dogs have now been seized by police after a six-year-old girl was injured during at attack in Carrington this past weekend.
Shortly before 2:40pm on Sunday 26 March, officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were called to an address on Ackers Lane in Carrington in Trafford after receiving reports that a child had “suffered injuries caused by dogs”.
The child, a six-year-old girl, was taken to hospital shortly after police arrived at the scene, and remains there “in a stable condition”.
GMP first confirmed that four adult dogs and nine puppies were seized by officers on Sunday, and were taken away by specialist partners.
Four more dogs were then seized yesterday, bringing the total to 17.
With investigations ongoing, GMP has confirmed that a “vehicle of interest” has been recovered and searched, as well as three people having been arrested on suspicion of owning a dangerous dog – but they have each since been released on bail.
Enquires are still continuing to locate individuals the force believes “have responsibility for the dogs”.
Detective Inspector Matthew Dixon, of GMP’s Trafford district, called it “a fluid investigation”, and added that: “So far we have recovered 17 dogs and made three arrests, as well as a vehicle of interest – however, the investigation is very much ongoing.”
Greater Manchester Police says it has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the incident.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact police quoting log 1612-26/03/23.
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Manchester United reject offers for Mason Greenwood as rep says he ‘should be allowed to move forward with his young life’
Manchester United have reportedly rejected a number of offers for Mason Greenwood as the club continues their internal investigation into his behaviour.
The club have reportedly received a number of offers for the young forward from Turkish teams in recent weeks and months while Greenwood has been suspended from playing or training. He has yet to return to the sport after charges of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were dropped.
The charges handed down in January 2022 were ultimately dropped last month when key witnesses withdrew, more than a year on from the incident that was widely circulated on social media.
Now, following a behind-the-scenes feature by The Athletic and ‘new material’ leading the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case for the foreseeable, it seems United are now the only party still investigating Greenwood, with his own team and figures around the club pushing for a resolution.
Speaking to Laurie Whitwell as part of the piece, one of Greenwood’s representatives argued that there is “no real substance” to the allegations, them “a mix of old news, speculation, half-truths and completely untrue claims.”
He went on to say, “Mason is 21, he has been cleared and should be allowed the opportunity to rebuild and move forward with his young life.”
Another source is also said to have told the outlet that the youngster has been fundamentally changed by the experience, insisting that he “would run through a brick wall” to be back playing at United.
As for the club’s stance, it remains to be seen what their final decision on his future will be, but it was reported earlier this month that a potential return is still “firmly under consideration” and his number 11 shirt has not yet been vacated as many would have expected if he was set to move on.
On the other hand, the article goes on to detail questions surrounding Greenwood’s conduct and general attitude during his relatively short time as a senior player too, the suggestion being that he was slacking in training because “he knew he was a good player”.
His attendance at Carrington is said to have been raised as an issue on more than one occasion and then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær often covered for training sessions and games he missed after failing to turn up to the team hotel for “unexplained absences”.
Another source who watched him play aged just 16 also went on to reveal that Bradford-born academy product “wasn’t shy about telling someone they were s***”, apparently even calling out Cristiano Ronaldo as “dead [finished]” when he was still at Real Madrid.
Greenwood played over 100 senior games for United and was widely considered one of the brightest young prospects in England, let alone the club, but the career trajectory he looked to be on is widely different from the problematic position he finds himself in now, regardless of any offers from abroad.