UK Covid live: minister plays down chart showing UK's death rate currently worst in world

Latest updates: Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis says ‘we’re not through this virus yet’ but claims comparisons are unfair

11.15am GMT

Many NHS hospitals and intensive care units are “already overwhelmed”, according to Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

As PA Media reports, figures from the NHS in England show that a record 34,336 Covid-19 patients were in hospital in England as of 8am on Monday January 18. The figure is up 7% on a week ago, and up 94% since Christmas Day.

There are many intensive care units and hospitals around the country that are already overwhelmed – seeing unprecedented numbers of cases, large numbers of very, very sick people, many of whom are dying.

And there are staff who are almost on their knees, having been going through this non-stop for months and months and months.

So we’re nowhere near out of this at the moment and I am really concerned, not just for people who have to come into hospital with Covid and come to intensive care, but to all staff who are working in intensive care at the moment.

10.55am GMT

To mark Donald Trump’s final day in office, the Daily Mail has published an article by Mark Sedwill, the former cabinet secretary, in which he says that

Based on my time working for Boris Johnson in Downing Street, I believe those who have said he would have preferred a second Trump term are mistaken. That would not have been to the benefit of British or European security, to transatlantic trade, let alone the environmental agenda to which the prime minister is so committed.

Mr Biden’s administration will reset priorities much more in line with those of his former boss, Barack Obama. He will re-engage with democracies and global institutions – such as the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation – that Mr Trump despised and disrupted. He will revive arms control negotiations with Iran and Russia, and rejoin the Paris treaty, which is crucial to the prospects for this year’s climate change conference in Glasgow.

Related: New No 10 team take on Cummings’ legacy of chaos and acrimony

Continue reading… Source: The Guardian: UK Covid live: minister plays down chart showing UK's death rate currently worst in world ———