- Ministers have begun a "final push" to persuade over-70s to get vaccinated
- The government aims to offer the vaccine to 15m people by Monday
- Up to 30 ministers are taking part in the vaccination drive this weekend
- On Friday Wales became the first UK nation to reach its vaccination target
- Covid could be a flu-like illness we have to live with, says the Health Secretary
- The number of UK people who have received their first vaccine dose has now passed 14 million
- Latest figures indicate 116,287 people have died of the virus in the UK
- Heathrow airport has expressed concern over the implementation of hotel quarantine plans
- Trials will begin this month to examine the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on children
- Treatments for Covid-19 will be fast-tracked through the UK's clinical trial system
- Canada's PM Justin Trudeau is under pressure to boost vaccinations
Good morningWelcome to today’s live page. Here are some of the key coronavirus stories in the UK this morning
- Those in the UK aged 70 or over who have not yet had a Covid jab are being urged to come forward, in a final push by ministers to meet their vaccination target
- They want at least 15 million people in the top four priority groups offered a dose by Monday 15 February.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that with the aid of vaccines and new treatments, Covid-19 could become a “treatable disease” that we can live with "like we do flu". His comments, in the Daily Telegraph suggest he is ruling out eliminating the virus entirely from the UK.
- Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of Covid cases is going down in all nations of the UK - although infection levels remain high. It comes after 15,144 new cases were recorded in the UK on Friday, as well as 758 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
- Internal government projections suggest the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in England will halve over the next month, returning to the levels last seen in October, according to reports in The Times.
- A new hotel quarantine system is due to come into force in England and Scotland on Monday. All British and Irish citizens and UK residents arriving in England from so-called "red-list" countries will have to quarantine in a hotel at a cost of £1,750 for an individual. In Scotland, hotel quarantine will be in force for residents arriving from any country.
- "Cautious" talks about Wales' tourist industry reopening in time for Easter have started, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. On Friday Mr Drakeford said a revised plan out of lockdown would be published "within days".
What the UK papers sayThere's a note of optimism on many of the front pages of the UK papers, amid what they regard as positive signs that the lockdown in England could soon be eased.
- The Daily Express says the country is about to take its "first steps on the road to lockdown freedom" , with the target of vaccinating 15 million people by Monday about to be "smashed".
- The Daily Mirror focuses on comments from a senior government adviser who said falling Covid infection rates could mean a significant relaxation of lockdown rules by May .
- The i newspaper publishes what it says are details of the government's three-phase plan to lift the restrictions . A senior government official tells the paper schools will be first to reopen, with non-essential shops following suit at the end of March. Pubs, restaurants and hotels could be allowed to reopen in time for the Easter weekend.
- But the Daily Mail offers more caution, saying advisers are urging the government to "keep the brakes on".
- And the Financial Times tells the government now is the time to set out its Covid-19 exit strategy , saying the public deserves to know the route back to normality.
Australian state enters lockdown over UK strainThe Australian state of Victoria has entered a five-day lockdown as the authorities race to suppress an outbreak of the UK strain of the virus.
At least 14 cases have been confirmed, and they are thought to all stem from a quarantine worker who became infected at a Melbourne hotel.
International flights to the city will be stopped during the lockdown. The Australian Open tennis tournament, however, will continue in the city without spectators.
Meanwhile, in other global headlines:
- Railway journeys in China over the past two weeks fell by nearly 70% when compared with the same period last year, state authorities said. This time is usually marked by a travel rush due to the Lunar New Year holiday
- Hungary became the first EU nation to use Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. It broke ranks with the EU last month by approving the jab , which showed promising results in early trials
- Peru's Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti has resigned amid claims that former President Martin Vizcarra was given the vaccine before it was made available to the public. He was reportedly given a dose in secret in October, but maintains he was taking part in a trial
- And the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against complacency as global cases of the virus continued to decline. "Now is not the time for any country to relax measures, or for any individual to let down their guard," its head, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Friday
'Significant gaps' in quarantine plan - Heathrow airportCaroline Davies - BBC London News
Heathrow airport has expressed concern over the implementation of hotel quarantine plans which are due to take effect on Monday.
From 15 February, anyone arriving in England from 33 high risk countries will be required to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
But the London airport, which is expected to receive the largest number of passengers from these countries, has said there remain "significant gaps" in the plan for implementation.
“We have been working hard with the government to try to ensure the successful implementation of the policy from Monday, but some significant gaps remain and we are yet to receive the necessary reassurances," a Heathrow spokesperson said.
"We will continue to work collaboratively with government over the weekend, but ministers must ensure there is adequate resource and appropriate protocols in place for each step of the full end-to-end process from aircraft to hotel to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport.”
On Friday, the union that represents immigration officials said that they had not been given an operational instructions for the policy.