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Covid-19: UK at 'worst point' of pandemic but jabs rollout accelerates

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Monday evening. We'll have another update for you on Tuesday morning.

1. UK at 'worst point' of pandemic

The UK is at the "worst point" of the coronavirus pandemic, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned, as he appealed for the public to follow government restrictions. He told a Downing Street briefing that the vaccine was the "way out" of the pandemic, but made clear the public's actions "could make a difference". A total of 2.3 million people have now had a Covid vaccine in the UK - with 2.6m doses given in total. Mr Hancock's comments follow an earlier warning by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the UK was facing a "perilous moment" in the pandemic, and must not become complacent despite the Covid vaccine rollout.

media captionMatt Hancock: "The bubbles policy will stay".

2. 'Out for the first time in months - and I feel fine'

Seven mass vaccination centres have opened in England in locations including Birmingham, Surrey and Newcastle. The BBC has been to another site - a conference centre in Hertfordshire - to find out how the vaccine rollout is working and what it was like for people receiving the jab. For Margaret Austin, 86, it is the first time she has left her house in six months. She said she was "really pleased and relieved" to be getting the vaccine.

image copyrightJoe Giddens/PA Wire
image captionMargaret Austin was the first to receive the vaccine at Robertson House, Stevenage

3. Concerns over lockdown compliance

There is an ongoing debate over whether England's current lockdown measures need to be tightened amid concern that some people may be ignoring the rules in supermarkets and some areas of the country. England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, urged people to adhere to the existing restrictions and minimise unnecessary social contact. Elsewhere, the BBC's Asian Network has explained England's lockdown rules in five South Asian languages: Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu here.

media captionProfessor Whitty: "We need to really double down ??? this is everybody???s problem"

4. Hospital's oxygen supply a 'critical situation'

People are being urged to comply with the lockdown to protect the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by a surge in coronavirus patients. At one hospital in Essex, oxygen supplies have "reached a critical situation" due to the rising numbers of Covid admissions. A document shared with the BBC showed Southend Hospital has had to reduce the amount it uses to treat patients, with the hospital's managing director saying it was "working to manage" the situation. Read more here to find out what would happen if hospitals became overwhelmed and how it can be avoided.

image captionA document shared with the BBC showed Southend Hospital has had to reduce the amount of oxygen it uses to treat patients

5. 'I've had to be my own motivator'

With England's schools closed to most pupils, young people are juggling assessment deadlines with remote learning. Seventeen-year-old Niamh Hodgkinson, from Colchester, has spoken to the BBC about studying for her A-levels amid a global pandemic - an experience that has sometimes been a challenge and meant she has had to be her own motivator.

image caption"I don't think it has been handled very well," says Niamh, about the handling of A-level examinations in England

And don't forget...

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