MORE than 160 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Berkshire in the last 24 hours.
Public Health England has recorded 164 lab-confirmed cases in areas including Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham, West Berkshire, Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead.
These figures, correct as of Tuesday, February 1 at 4pm, bring the county’s lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 tests total to 51,429, according to Public Health England.
The local breakdown for the past 24 hours as follows:
Reading – 24 cases, 10,074 total
West Berkshire – 26 cases, 5,716 total
Bracknell – 20 cases, 6,538 total
Wokingham – 19 cases, 7,563 total
Slough – 50 cases, 13,824 total
Windsor and Maidenhead – 25 cases, 7,714 total
There have now been 3,972,148 people across the UK who have tested positive for Covid-19.
The total number of deaths – those with Covid-19 listed on their death certificate – across the UK has now reached 121,674.
The latest seven-day rate per 100,000 people locally are as follows:
Reading – 252.2
West Berkshire – 172.3
Bracknell – 234.2
Wokingham – 140.3
Slough – 346.4
Windsor and Maidenhead – 156.5
In today’s national coronavirus news:
Vaccines are “fully efficacious” against the Kent variant of coronavirus, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said.
He told Sky News that the variant remains “our main challenge at the moment”.
“(It is) highly infectious, spreads more quickly than some of the other variants, and dominates at the moment and is our primary challenge.
“And the vaccines are fully efficacious against that particular strain.”
Experts believe coronavirus is becoming an “endemic” disease, a leading epidemiologist has said.
Professor David Heymann, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was asked on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if people were going to have to “learn to live with” coronavirus circulating.
Prof Heymann replied: “It certainly seems like that in the shorter term, and probably in the long term as well.
“Most experts believe that this disease is now becoming endemic, but the good thing is that we have many tools including vaccines with which we can deal with this virus.”
Drawing a comparison with the spread of HIV/Aids, he added: “We’ve learned to live with it, as we’ll learn to live with this infection as well.”
Mr Eustice said it was “disappointing” that some NHS staff have declined to take a coronavirus vaccine.
“I think it is always very difficult to require or mandate vaccination… it has always been the case that people have to choose to want it,” the Environment Secretary told Sky News.
“Obviously it is disappointing if people working in our NHS, who themselves in very small numbers, have decided not to have the vaccine.
“We want to get maximum protection particularly for those vulnerable cohorts but also for those such as those working in the NHS who are particularly exposed, and the vast majority of them have taken up the vaccine.”
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will set out who they believe should be next in line for Covid-19 jabs in a few weeks time.