The government is planning to offer incentives to ramp up covid vaccination as dwindling numbers come forward for their first shot. Altogether 3,517 million have received both doses and 2,131 their first. The high-risk and elderly groups which were first to be vaccinated have shown a dramatic decline in infection. The groups most affected by the spike triggered by the UK variant are below 60. The younger groups, including some teachers, hesitate before taking vaccination.
The number of new cases on Tuesday was 7,761. After 65,000 tests, 8.8pc proved positive. The number of seriously ill remained stable at 1,097 with 307 on ventilators. Covid-related deaths rose by 351 in the first 8 days of February to a total of 5,171 since the pandemic erupted a year ago.