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As you know, this country is engaged in the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in our history, and the chances are that you know someone personally who has already received a vaccine.
But it would be fatal if this sense of progress were now to breed any kind of complacency because the pressures on our NHS are extraordinary.
On Tuesday we saw 4,134 new admissions to hospital on a single day, the highest at any point in this pandemic.
There are now more than 37,000 Covid patients in hospital across the UK and, in spite of all the efforts of our doctors and nurses and our medical staff, we are now seeing cancer treatments sadly postponed, ambulances queuing, and intensive care units spilling over into adjacent wards.
And with 55,761 positive cases since yesterday and, very sadly, 1,280 deaths, this is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts.
So please stay at home, please protect the NHS and save lives.
And please remember that this disease can be passed on not just by standing too near someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person.
And remember also that 1 in 3 people with Covid have no symptoms, and that is why that original message of hands, face and space, washing your hands, is as important now as it has ever been.
And it is precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.
So, yesterday we announced that we are banning flights from South America and Portugal.
And, to protect us against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains, we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 0400 on Monday.
Following conversations with the devolved administrations, we will act together so that this applies across the whole of UK
This means that if you come to this country, you must have proof of a negative Covid test that you have taken in the 72 hours before leaving and you must have filled in your Passenger Locator Form, and your airline will ask for proof of both before you take off.
You may also be checked when you land and face substantial fines for refusing to comply
And, upon arrival, you must then quarantine for ten days – not leaving your home for any reason at all, or take another test on day 5 and wait for proof of another negative result.
And we will be stepping up our enforcement – both at the border and in-country.
And it is vital to take these extra measures now when day by day, hour by hour, we are making such strides in protecting the population.
We have now vaccinated over 3.2 million people across the UK, doubling the numbers of last week.
That’s 2.8 million in England, 225,000 in Scotland, 126,000 in Wales and 115,000 in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday alone, we vaccinated around a quarter of a million people in England, and that is still far more than any other country in Europe.
And with almost 45 per cent of our over 80s now vaccinated and almost 40 per cent of care home residents, we are steadily protecting those most at risk.
And I pay particular tribute to the vaccination efforts going on in Cockermouth, in Cumbria, Yateley and Cheltenham, where they have vaccinated around 90 per cent of their over-80s in their communities. And I’ll also pay tribute to North West Lincolnshire, to Sunderland and Morecambe Bay, where vaccination teams have protected over 80 per cent of their care home residents.
And it’s thanks to that amazing constellation of the vaccination teams: doctors and nurses
armed forces, local authorities, pharmacies and volunteers that we are steadily building up that immunity, that protection for the vulnerable, for the NHS and for us all.
So, when the call comes, please do get a jab and, in the meantime, stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.