Case rates rose in one in five local authority areas in England last week and rate of hospital admissions and deaths are still “far too high”, the health secretary has said.
Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference “this isn’t over yet” as he pointed to figures showing the recent fall in case numbers was now slowing and has flattened in some areas of the country.
Also on Friday, a row broke out over the next phase of the vaccination programme as teachers and police officers were excluded from getting priority jabs.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on Friday announced that the rollout would continue to prioritise people by age rather than by profession.
The government-backed move sparked anger among the policing community and teaching unions, who were left bemused by the decision not to inoculate frontline workers.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said his peers and colleagues had been "betrayed".
Meanwhile, teaching unions expressed disappointment and anger at the decision, which came despite ministers pledging to get all pupils back in the classroom by 8 March.
Elsewhere, a new UK study has suggested a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine cuts the number of asymptomatic infections and could significantly reduce the risk of transmission.