ENGLAND may be seeing as many as 90,000 new Covid infections every day, Westminster's chief scientific adviser has announced.

The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), which gives expert advice on scientific matters relating to the UK’s response to an influenza pandemic, said anywhere from 53,000 to 90,000 new Covid infections may be occurring per day. 

Vallance said that, when new figures are announced tomorrow, we will most likely continue to see an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Last week, it was estimated that there may have been as many as 362,000 people with Covid in the UK. The bottom estimate was 312,200. 

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Vallance was speaking at a Downing Street briefing alongside Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

The UK chief scientific adviser also showed a slide which put the number of daily admissions to hospital of people with Covid at around 1000. That figure was for the whole of the UK.

He stressed that the number of infections leads to hospitalisations a week or two later. As such, there is likely to be a further increase over the coming weeks as the effects of the 53,000-90,000 cases a day begin to be seen.

Vallance said the UK's R-number is currently around 1.2-1.5. He said this shows that the epidemic is still growing. However, the fact that it is much below Covid's "natural-R" of 3 shows that the measures being taken are working.

Johnson and Sunak also gave short speeches.

Johnson said that the UK Government could not consider an "extreme laissez-faire" approach to Covid, with businesses allowed to open as normal, as that would lead to too many deaths and put too much strain on the NHS.

He also said that the "psychological and economic cost" of lockdowns meant his Government would also not consider a full return to the strict restrictions brought in in March.

Instead, Johnson said the UK would take a "balanced approach".

He said it was a regional and local approach which had also been followed by some countries which had been "most successful" in fighting the coronavirus.

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Sunak said they would "listen and respond" to people’s concerns as circumstances evolved as he recapped his new economic support package.

This new package, Sunak said, involved three main points.

1: He said the job support scheme had been made more generous. Instead of employees needing to work one-third of their hours to qualify for support, they will now have to work “just one day a week”.

Sunak said the Government would “significantly” increase the amount of aid given to businesses. He said they would have to pay “just 5% of the cost of hours not worked”. 

2: The Government is also going to double the value of self employed income support grants from 20 to 40% of average profits. He said the maximum grant would then increase to £3750.

3: Finally, he said there would be a new grant scheme for businesses in Covid hotspots, even if they can remain open. Sunak said hospitality businesses could apply to their local authority for grants of up to £2100 per month. These grants can be backdated to August.

Sunak said these points amounted to a plan "to support the British people".

However, key figures in the Scottish Government have blasted the plans, which give English businesses a "blank cheque" while offering Scotland nothing.

The First Minister said Sunak's position was "intolerable and unacceptable".