Coronavirus UK news LIVE – Covid infections next week CRITICAL to lockdown lifting plan as London cases plummet fastest

THE number of covid infections registered in the UK next week will be critical to how we come out of lockdown.

With the lockdown plan being unveiled on February 22nd, data gathered next week with be the biggest indicator government advisors use when establishing exactly how far past the covid peak the UK is.

Brits are desperate for life to get back to normal, though any easing of lockdown is expected to be slow and staggered, keeping measures such as the rule of six and pubs only open for takeaways in the short term.

As things stand, London infections are falling fastest, with a significant plunge in the north of the capital.

The biggest weekly drop was in the borough of Haringey at 47.6%, followed by Enfield (42% week on week) and Islington (42.4%).

Many of the biggest falls are in urban centres that have been worst hit by the second coronavirus wave and are a promising signs for some of the county's most under pressure hospitals .

Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis…

  • John Hall

    KPMG CHAIRMAN RESIGNS AFTER TELLING STAFF TO 'STOP MOANING' ABOUT COVID CUTS

    The chairman of KMPG in the UK has resigned after reportedly telling staff to "stop moaning" about worries over possible cuts to pensions, pay and bonuses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Bill Michael will step down from his position at the audit giant after his comments during a conference call on Monday.

    He said: "I love the firm and I am truly sorry that my words have caused hurt amongst my colleagues and for the impact the events of this week have had on them.

    "In light of that, I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm.

    "It has been a privilege to have acted as chair of KPMG. I feel hugely proud of all our people and the things they have achieved, particularly during these very challenging times."

  • John Hall

    PM HAS 'SOME BANDWIDTH' TO REOPEN SCHOOLS

    Boris Johnson will "have some bandwidth" to start reopening schools in March before potentially beginning to ease other restrictions the following month, Professor Neil Ferguson has said.

    The key scientist advising the Government as part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group said he is "hopeful" that the nation could be in its "final lockdown".

    His comments came as the Prime Minister faced pressure from Tory MPs not to delay the timetable for easing lockdown.

    Mr Johnson's "road map" for easing England's third national lockdown is due out in the week starting February 22, with March 8 earmarked for a wide reopening of schools.

    Prof Ferguson, the Imperial College London academic whose modelling was crucial in shocking Mr Johnson into imposing the first lockdown, said the nation is "in a better place than I might have anticipated a month ago".

  • John Hall

    'SLOWLY AND CAUTIOUSLY' LIFT RESTRICTIONS IN WALES

    First Minister Mark Drakeford has said restrictions could be eased "slowly and cautiously" in Wales around spring time if levels of Covid-19 infection continued to drop.

    Mr Drakeford said this would only happen if infection levels fell, the impact on the health service was "drained away", and the vaccination programme offered protection to people against the virus.

    "If that is the path that we are on, then a pattern in Wales as we move towards the spring and Easter will be one in which we will be able to slowly and cautiously lift the restrictions that are currently in place in all aspects of our lives," Mr Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff.

  • John Hall

    MORE HOTEL ROOMS WILL BE ADDED 'AS REQUIRED' SAYS NO.10

    Downing Street has said it can add extra hotel rooms for quarantine "as required", after signing contracts for 4,600 rooms so far.

    A No 10 spokesman said: "We've signed contracts with 16 hotels for an initial 4,600 rooms.

    "We can expand the service as needed, adding the hotels and rooms as required."

  • John Hall

    R RATE IS 0.8, ACCORDING TO DATA

    There are currently 14,818 daily new symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the UK on average, according to the latest figures from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study app.

    The data, which is based on swab tests data from up to five days ago, also puts the UK reproduction number (R) of coronavirus at 0.8.

    The Zoe app figures, which includes information from around one million weekly reporters, estimates around one in 233 people in the UK currently has symptomatic Covid-19.

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