The UK has again recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths overnight bringing the country’s official death toll past 80,000.
Another 59,937 Covid-19 cases were also reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic past three million to 3,017,409.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK is “on course” to meet its coronavirus vaccine target, but warned the surge in cases has left the state-run National Health Service in a “very, very serious situation.”
During his media rounds Sunday, Hancock said more than 200,000 people are being vaccinated every day, with the total now about 2 million — including one-third of the over-80s regarded as the group most vulnerable to the disease. The government will publish daily data from Monday, and Hancock said mass vaccination centers opening in coming days will accelerate the rollout.
The UK faces a race against time to administer vaccines and get the disease under control, before it can lift a national lockdown that threatens to drag the country back into recession. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target to deliver about 15 million shots to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by mid-February, a goal he has described as a “big stretch.”