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Covid-19: Four million people have first jab and health workers detail ‘tough’ experiences

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

1. Vaccine progress

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says

four million people have now had their first Covid-19 jab in the UK, including more than half of care home residents and half of the over 80s. It comes as England is to begin giving the coronavirus vaccine to millions more people – those aged over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Meanwhile, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has been accused of a “go-slow” vaccination strategy after he defended the speed of the Covid jab roll-out. Find out when you will be eligible for the vaccine here.

image copyrightReuters

2. Some critical care wards full

Ten hospital trusts across England consistently reported having no spare adult critical care beds in the most recent figures. England’s 140 acute trusts had 5,503 adult critical care beds on 10 January, with 4,632 in use. NHS bosses have warned hospitals could “hit the limit” of their capacity this week. At Monday’s Downing Street Press briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the number of people in UK hospitals with the virus was at its highest level yet – at 37,435.

3. ‘It’s been tough,’ say emergency services workers

The London Ambulance Service is currently taking up to 8,500 calls a day, compared with a pre-Covid figure of 5,000 to 6,000, according to its chief executive Garrett Emmerson. “It has been tough,” says Lizzie Cooke, who works at the service’s London headquarters. “We are getting calls from family members who are really frightened.” Meanwhile, paramedic Stan Baxter, of the Welsh Ambulance Service, has also described the pressure he and colleagues have been under, saying he questioned his job after he was spat at.

4. ‘No special treatment’ for Australian Open players

Seventy-two tennis players who have arrived in Melbourne for next month’s Australian Open are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days. They were on flights where passengers later tested positive for coronavirus. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says they will get “no special treatment” after some complained the harder 14-day quarantine was unnecessary. Players are resorting to hitting balls against the walls and windows of their rooms to stay sharp.

media captionCompetitors in the Australian Open are having to practise in slightly different circumstances this year

5. Why Blue Monday is a ‘load of rubbish’

Christmas is over, it’s cold and dark outside and we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. Blue Monday – also known as the most depressing day of the year – has been trending on Twitter since the weekend. It is a “load of rubbish”, says 23-year-old Sophie Edwards, who thinks labelling one day a year can be damaging for people dealing with their mental health issues. There have been suggestions to turn Blue Monday into Brew Monday – with mental health charity Samaritans encouraging a chat with family and friends over a virtual cup of tea.

image copyrightGetty Images

And don’t forget…

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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