UK Covid live: almost 4.5m people waiting for hospital treatments in England after virus backlog | Politics

Good morning. Yesterday Britain passed a grim milestone, as the number of people who have died with coronavirus in the UK passed 100,000 and the daily figure for recorded deaths reached a new all-time high, at 1,564. Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, was asked about the figures in an interview on ITV’s Peston last night. On the plus side, he said that there was evidence that the lockdown measures were working and that coronavirus cases numbers were starting to come down. He told the programme:

I think the existing restrictions … are making a difference and you can see that. What we know now – that we didn’t know a few weeks ago – was, would these sorts of restrictions be enough to bring this virus under control with the new variant? And the answer is yes. It looks like it is and things are flattening off, at least in some places.

But Vallance also said that high daily death numbers were going to continue “for some weeks”. He said:

When you look at the number of infections we’ve had over the past few weeks and how this is likely to continue … I’m afraid we’re in a period of high death numbers that’s going to carry on for some weeks.

It’s not going to come down quickly even if the measures that are in place now start to reduce the infection numbers. So we’re in for a pretty grim period, I’m afraid.

It has been a relatively quiet morning so far. The UK government is being criticised for announcing last night that the law requiring international arrivals to England to have a negative test will come into force on Monday, not on Friday as originally planned. My colleague Matthew Weaver has this story.

And today Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, is due to chair a meeting that is expected to approve a ban on flights from Brazil. My colleague Heather Stewart has the story here.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes figures on the economic impact of coronavirus.

9.30am: NHS England publishes its latest hospital waiting time figures.

10.30am: An environment minister responds to a Commons urgent question about the impact of Brexit on the fishing industry.

11am: NHS test and trace publishes its weekly performance figures.

12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.

12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, holds her daily coronavirus briefing.

2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.

Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.

Here is our global coronavirus live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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