Calls to escalate English lockdown amid fears one in five may have had Covid
Ministers were under pressure on Sunday night to escalate the current lockdown in England amid warnings that current measures may not be tough enough.
They came as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said about 2 million people – including about a third of people over the age of 80 – had already been vaccinated, and the opening of the mass vaccination sites is intended to accelerate the process.
More than half a million people over the age of 80 are to receive letters inviting them to attend one of seven large coronavirus vaccination centres opening in England, where they will be able to book an appointment online or over the phone.
But, in an interview on Sunday, Hancock also said that, with hospital cases and deaths still rising sharply, the NHS was “probably under the greatest pressure it ever has been”:
Headteachers in England forced to ration on-site lockdown learning
Nearly half of England’s headteachers are being forced to prioritise class places among vulnerable students and the children of key workers because of a huge increase in demand, according to a survey of school leaders.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which carried out the survey, said the government’s “confused” messages to parents on school attendance risks defeating its aim of suppressing the virus:
Small businesses and manufacturers in the UK are bracing themselves for a fight for survival this year, according to fresh survey data, as they negotiate the twin threats of Covid-19 and weaker post-Brexit trade with the EU.
More than 250,000 small firms expect to fold without further government financial support, according to a quarterly poll by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Manufacturers’ trade body Make UK said its members expected lower investment in the UK and to have a harder time recruiting talent:
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