News of January 17, 2021 on the coronavirus

A person receives the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 11 in Oldham, England. Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

More than 3.5 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, surpassing the number of people testing positive for the virus, according to UK government data. A total of 3,559,179 people received their first dose last Friday, but only 447,261 of them received a second dose.

The head of the National Health Service in England told the BBC on Sunday that more than half of people aged 80 and over had received the first dose, with the pace of vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming weeks.

“We will start testing 24/7 in some hospitals over the next 10 days, but we are currently vaccinating at a rate of around 140 jabs per minute,” said Simon Stevens.

Stevens said someone was admitted to hospital with the virus every 30 seconds.

The UK has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with 81,800 dead.

“Since Christmas Day we have seen another increase of 15,000 inpatients in hospitals across England, which is equivalent to filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients,” Stevens said.

On Monday, 10 more mass vaccination sites will open across England as the rollout of the vaccine in the country accelerates.

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