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Are Covid cases beginning to creep back UP?

Britain’s daily Covid cases may be starting to slowly creep up again, official statistics suggested today after health chiefs recorded another 14,718 infections.

Department of Health figures show daily cases plummeted in size over the fortnight that started November 10 as England’s national lockdown thwarted the outbreak. But the UK’s curve began to flatten roughly a week before the draconian restrictions were lifted, suggesting Britons grew tired of the policies before they were forced into the toughened three-tier scheme. 

For comparison, 12,330 Brits were added to the Government’s positive tally last Monday — meaning today’s figure is a 19.4 per cent rise week-on-week.

Deaths are still continuing to fall, however, as a result of the national lockdown. Another 189 victims were posted today, down 8 per cent on the 205 registered last Monday. Fatalities can lag weeks behind cases because it can take infected patients a fortnight to fall severely ill and succumb to the illness. 

The cases come ahead of ‘V-Day’ tomorrow, with Britain set to embark on its biggest vaccination drive in history. Fifty hospitals are geared up to administer Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab to vulnerable over-80s, care home staff and NHS workers.   

But top scientists have warned that Britain faces a third wave if the nation takes its ‘foot off the pedal’ because of the vaccine roll-out. Concerns of a spike in cases before Christmas were raised over the weekend, after pictures showed massive crowds across the country, including outside Harrods in London.

Professor Andrew Hayward, an epidemiologist at University College London and member of No10’s advisory panel SAGE, called on Britons to stick to the rules to avoid a ‘severe peak’ in the New Year.

Department of Health figures show daily cases plummeted in size over the fortnight that started November 10 as England's national lockdown thwarted the outbreak. But the UK's curve began to flatten roughly a week before the draconian restrictions were lifted, suggesting Britons grew tired of the policies before they were forced into the toughened three-tier scheme. Top: Data shows how daily cases changed by the date the test is taken. Bottom: Data shows how daily cases have changed by the date the positive test was added to the system

Department of Health figures show daily cases plummeted in size over the fortnight that started November 10 as England’s national lockdown thwarted the outbreak. But the UK’s curve began to flatten roughly a week before the draconian restrictions were lifted, suggesting Britons grew tired of the policies before they were forced into the toughened three-tier scheme. Top: Data shows how daily cases changed by the date the test is taken. Bottom: Data shows how daily cases have changed by the date the positive test was added to the system

BRITONS ‘WILL FAKE’ COVID-19 VACCINE IDS JUST TO GET BACK TO NORMAL LIFE 

Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccination ID card could create a black market in fakes if pubs, theatres and restaurants demand to see them and would threaten the civil liberties of millions if imposed as a ‘freedom pass’, dissenting Tory MPs told MailOnline today.

Every Briton will be handed a card proving they have received the jab and urged to keep it with them at all times with critics accusing the Government of bringing in an immunity passport by stealth.

No 10 has denied any plans for a UK ‘vaccination passport’ – but businesses including airline Qantas have already said they will give preferential treatment to anyone who has had a jab and can prove it.

Ex-minister Sir Desmond Swayne has told MailOnline that the UK’s vaccination ID card could be construed as a message to Britons that they ‘will be able to have access to your civil liberties if you behave in the way we require by having this vaccine’. He said: ‘That is coercion’, adding his concerns that people ‘will end up’ faking the documents ‘to be able to live normally’.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis warned: ‘This sounds altogether too much like a freedom pass. In Britain the citizens don’t hold their freedom by the dispensation of the state’.

It came as Downing Street sought to diffuse the row by claiming the cards are simply a ‘reminder’ to get a second jab so the vaccine is more effective – and not a form of ‘immunity passport’. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The cards are NHS reminder cards that prompt people to get the second dose that they need. That’s a well-established practice in the NHS to offer people cards to remind them of their next appointment.’

This morning Foreign Office minister James Cleverly suggested differently as he said millions of people in the UK will have their lives ‘unlocked’ by having the coronavirus jab with a card to prove it.

When asked if the cards were passports by another name, Mr Cleverly repeatedly dodged the question but told Sky News that he hoped that they would not be required as a ‘ticket’ to get into pubs, restaurants or sporting events. He added: ‘Ultimately it’s about unlocking people’s lives and the economy’.

MailOnline has asked NHS England, which is managing the vaccine rollout, whether it will be mandatory to carry the card. They are yet to respond.

In other coronavirus developments today: 

  • Mass coronavirus testing in Slovakia slashed infection rates by 60 per cent in a week during a national lockdown, according to a study — but experts have warned Britain’s Operation Moonshot scheme may not work as well due to the swabs being less accurate;
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed ‘all parts of the UK’ now have doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid jab ahead of V-Day tomorrow — but three NHS trusts in Tier Three zones, including in Leicestershire and Kent, will no longer get the vaccine this week;
  • Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccination ID card could create a black market in fakes if pubs, theatres and restaurants demand to see them and would threaten the civil liberties of millions if imposed as a ‘freedom pass’, dissenting Tory MPs warned;
  • Lockdown is finally looming in Sweden with coronavirus infection rates now more than double that of Britain, Germany or Spain and its death rate once again the highest among Nordic nations.

Despite the Government’s official measure of cases continuing to flatline, other mass surveillance studies have suggested the outbreak is shrinking.

The Office for National Statistics, which has tracked the size of England’s outbreak through tens of thousands of random swab tests, last week revealed daily cases more than halved during November, from 47,700 per day at the start of lockdown to 25,700 in the week ending November 28. 

King’s College London researchers, who run a symptom-tracking app, say that cases have been consistently falling since the country’s second national lockdown was enforced on November 5.

And SAGE last week dropped the estimated R rate — the number of people each infected patient passes the virus on to — to 0.8-1, meaning the outbreak is definitely shrinking. It was below the crucial threshold in every region, the advisers said.

Only nine out of 149 local authorities in England saw their Covid-19 infection rates tick upwards last week, according to Public Health England, in yet another sign that the second wave of the pandemic is shrinking.

It comes ahead of the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to the elderly and those in care homes tomorrow, after the medicines regulator approved splitting the vaccine’s pallets so it could be easily distributed to other areas.

Boris Johnson was today warned against rolling out Covid-19 vaccination cards, amid fears it could create a black market in fakes if pubs, theatres and restaurants demand to see them before admitting customers.

Every Briton will be handed a card proving they have received the jab and urged to keep it with them at all times with critics accusing the Government of bringing in an immunity passport by stealth.

No 10 has denied any plans for a UK ‘vaccination passport’ – but businesses including airline Qantas have already said they will give preferential treatment to anyone who has had a jab and can prove it.

Ex-minister Sir Desmond Swayne has told MailOnline that the UK’s vaccination ID card could be construed as a message to Britons that they ‘will be able to have access to your civil liberties if you behave in the way we require by having this vaccine’. He said: ‘That is coercion’, adding his concerns that people ‘will end up’ faking the documents ‘to be able to live normally’.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis warned: ‘This sounds altogether too much like a freedom pass. In Britain the citizens don’t hold their freedom by the dispensation of the state’.

Downing Street sought to diffuse the row by claiming the cards are simply a ‘reminder’ to get a second jab so the vaccine is more effective – and not a form of ‘immunity passport’. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The cards are NHS reminder cards that prompt people to get the second dose that they need. That’s a well-established practice in the NHS to offer people cards to remind them of their next appointment.’

This morning Foreign Office minister James Cleverly suggested differently as he said millions of people in the UK will have their lives ‘unlocked’ by having the coronavirus jab with a card to prove it.

When asked if the cards were passports by another name, Mr Cleverly repeatedly dodged the question but told Sky News that he hoped that they would not be required as a ‘ticket’ to get into pubs, restaurants or sporting events. He added: ‘Ultimately it’s about unlocking people’s lives and the economy’.


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