Sunday, January 2, 2022 3:42 pm
Britain has reported another 162,572 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period.
This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 13.1 million, according to official figures released late on Saturday.
Britain also reported a further 154 coronavirus-related deaths.
The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 148,778, with 11,918 COVID-19 patients still in the hospital.
The data on Saturday did not include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland due to differences in reporting schedules over the New Year weekend.
The latest figures came as British Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said further restrictions must be a “last resort” and Britain will now have to “live alongside” the virus in 2022.
Javid, writing in the Daily Mail, said England “welcomed in 2022 with some of the least restrictive measures in Europe’’.
“Curbs on our freedom must be an absolute last resort and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avert them,’’ he said.
“So, I’ve been determined that we must give ourselves the best chance of living alongside the virus and avoiding strict measures in the future.’’
The health secretary added that it was “inevitable that we will still see a big increase’’ in COVID patients over the next month, warning that the pandemic is “still far from over’’.
He also warned that the record-breaking Omicron wave of infections will “test the limits of the National Health Service (NHS) this winter’’.
More than 90 per cent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 82 per cent have received both doses, according to the latest figures.
More than 59 per cent have received booster jabs or the third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.