UK records 744 COVID deaths – highest daily rise since end of April
Written by on 23 December 2020
The UK has recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths since the end of April – and a record rise in cases for the second day running.
The number of fatalities – 744 – is the highest daily figure since 29 April, and the increase in cases – 39,237 – is the highest since the start of the pandemic.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the UK now stands at 2,149,551, while the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test has reached 69,051.
But the latter figure rises to 79,349 when taking into account all fatalities with COVID-19 on the death certificate.
Another 2,004 patients have been admitted to hospital with the disease, according to the latest government figures, taking the current total to 20,917 – close to the spring peak.
And in what Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted was “highly concerning” news, another new strain – again even more transmissible – has also been identified in the UK.
It originated in South Africa and anyone who has recently returned from the country has been told to self-isolate, with incoming flights from the country to be stopped, Sky News understands.
Mr Hancock also used Wednesday’s Downing Street news briefing to announce that more areas of the UK would be plunged into Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.
Moving into Tier 4 will be: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, the parts of Essex currently not covered by the toughest rules, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire – with the exception of the New Forest.
Parts of the South West will also move into Tier 3, including Somerset and Herefordshire, while Cornwall will move up into Tier 2.
If places need to be moved to a higher tier again, Mr Hancock said he would be “prepared to act incredibly fast”.