ALMOST 90 per cent of UK residents over 80 have now received a Covid vaccine, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Vaccines have now also been offered to all elderly care home residents in England as well as staff.

At a Downing Street briefing today Mr Hancock said 9.2 million people had now received a jab, including more than half of over 70s.

About 900,000 of these jabs were given out over the weekend, equivalent to one of every 60 people in the UK.

The Government has 400 million vaccines on order, including 40 million of Valneva's jab, which is yet to be approved by regulators.

Mr Hancock said: "My attitude has always been we protect every UK citizen as fast as we can and at the same time we’re generous around the world.”

The Health Secretary said the vaccine rollout was a “global effort”, adding the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently the only vaccine being deployed globally at cost.

“We will play our part to ensure the whole world can get the jab,” he said.

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He also addressed concerns over the new South African variant of Covid, which has been identified in several parts of the UK including London.

The Government will be “surging” extra testing into these areas and going door to door in a bid to eradicate it in the UK.

Mr Hancock said while there is no evidence the South Africa strain is more deadly, “we need to come down on it hard”.

He added: “It is absolutely vital people in those areas minimise all social contact and get a test when the opportunity arises.

“It’s a big effort getting this new variant - essentially finding every single case of it, that is the goal.”

Colchester's Covid rate continues to drop and is now 320 cases per 100,000 people after there were 623 cases confirmed in the seven days to January 28.

This is down from 481.8 cases per 100,000 people a week earlier.

Tendring's infection rate also continues to fall, but remains the highest in Essex. It is now 386.9 cases per 100,000 people, down from 481.8 cases per 100,000 people a week earlier.

Seven more deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid were announced at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust today, as well as one more death at Clacton Hospital, which is run by Anglian Community Enterprise.