• Covid-19 hospital admissions rose from 6,200 on Friday to 9,000 today
  • Chief scientific adviser says rates “not rapidly accelerating”
  • Sir Patrick Vallance forecasts rates will “stabilise” in two to three weeks before decreasing

Coronavirus hospital admissions are expected to remain at around roughly 1,000-a-day for the next two to three weeks before “stabilising”, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser.

Sir Patrick Vallance told the government’s latest covid-19 briefing today the total of hospital admissions which had tested positive for the virus had risen form 6,200 on Friday to 9,000 on Monday.

He said: “I do expect that number to continue. I expect the number of people coming every day to be about that [1,000-a-day]. It may go up a little bit and then, in two or three weeks, you would expect that to stabilise and then start to go down a bit. But it’s important [to say] that’s not a rapid acceleration.”

Sir Patrick added: “The numbers as projected are designed, as the chief medical officer [Chris Whitty] has said, to keep this below the ICU capacity. You can’t promise, and I certainly wouldn’t promise, that every single ICU is never going to breach its number because that happens every winter.

“But the aim is to try and keep that below across the country and that’s what we’re shooting for. That’s what the numbers suggest we should achieve, there or thereabouts, and that’s what we need to keep striving for.”

He was also asked about the accuracy of the number of deaths which are reported daily, and whether they can be relied upon.

He said there was a “lag” in the data, which is caused by ensuring the times and dates are correct, before adding: “There will always be some lag and I think the NHS and Public Health England are working very hard to close that gap, and make sure that the gap is as short as possible.”

The Office for National Statistics has said it will publish the number of covid-19 deaths occurring outside of hospital from tomorrow.

“That will lead to some extra numbers on top of that,” Sir Patrick said. “Don’t expect those to be large — it’s important going forward that we have this reconciliation between all of the numbers.”