POLITICS
07/01/2021 10:08 GMT | Updated 07/01/2021 14:29 GMT

Boris Johnson To Hold Downing Street Coronavirus Press Conference

The prime minister will speak at 5pm

Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference on Thursday afternoon, after the latest daily reported UK coronavirus death toll exceeded 1,000.

The prime minister will be joined by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens and the commander of 101 Logistics Brigade, Brigadier Phil Prosser.

Hospitals across the UK face rising numbers of seriously ill patients. As of January 4, there were 30,451 people in UK hospitals with coronavirus, much higher than the April 12 peak of 21,684.

The UK reported a further 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday — the highest daily reported total since April 21.

Seven mass-vaccination centres will also open next week in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage.

It comes as GPs in England are to begin the mass rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccines are being delivered to sites across the country as the government commits to offering a vaccine to more than 13 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February.

Some 1.3 million people have already received either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, with updated figures expected on Thursday.

PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Downing Street, London.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that hospital bosses across England are looking to the care and nursing home sector for any spare capacity.

“This is escalating really quickly,” he said.  “We’ve seen 5,000 new patients in hospital beds with Covid-19 over the past week – that’s 10 full hospitals’ worth of Covid patients in hospitals in just seven days, so it’s a really big challenge.

“We are now reaching the point in some places where hospital beds are full, community beds are full and community at home services are also full.

“What trust leaders are trying to do is they know there is some spare capacity in the care and nursing home sector and they’re in the middle of conversation with care and nursing home colleagues to see if they can access that capacity.

“It’s literally leaving no stone unturned to maximise every single piece of capacity we’ve got in those areas under real pressure.”

He said the Exeter and Manchester Nightingale hospitals are currently being used but Nightingales are the “last-resort insurance policy” as they are not “purpose built for health and care” and require the diversion of staff.