UK coronavirus deaths rise by 215 on last Sunday before England’s lockdown ends

Harriet Brewis
·3-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

The UK has recorded 12,155 new coronavirus cases and a further 215 deaths overnight.

Today’s rise in infections follows a steady decrease in case rates across the country.

The total number of infections recorded over the past week is more than a quarter less than over the previous seven days.

It takes Britain’s total Covid-19 infection count since the start of the pandemic to 1,617,327.

It comes as the daily rise in deaths gradually starts to drop.

A total of 3,223 virus fatalities were recorded over the past seven days, a rise of 4.3 per cent on the previous week.

Watch: COVID-19 cases fell by a third in England during second lockdown, study suggests

This compares to yesterday’s figure of 3,406 deaths – a rise of 19 per cent on the previous week.

It takes the country’s official Covid death toll to 58,245. But separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agency show that Britain has now recorded more than 73,000 fatalities involving the disease.

The figures come as England enters its final two days of lockdown before new tiered restrictions come into force.

Some 55 million people across the country – or 99 per cent of the population – are set to enter the top two alert levels – Tiers 2 and 3 – which will see tough restrictions on hospitality and a ban on social mixing indoors.

Earlier on Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab refused to rule out a third national shutdown if the country suffers another spike in infections in the new year.

Mr Raab insisted that the localised restrictions – which come into force on Wednesday – are necessary to “bear down” on the pandemic and keep as much of the country open as possible.

But he said tiers would be downgraded in areas where the virus is in retreat, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We are starting with a more restrictive approach than previously with the localised approach.

“But that allows us to ease up when we are confident the virus is going down and stabilised – there’s a review every two weeks.”

He added that, with testing, “those two things are the crucial bridge to that light at the end of the tunnel in the spring”.

And in an interview with BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary said there was a “risk” of a third spike in case numbers “if we don’t get the balance right”.

Asked whether there would be another national lockdown if people fail to comply with the rules, Mr Raab said: “We’re doing everything we can to avoid that.”

In other developments:

– A further 208 people who tested positive for coronavirus were reported to have died in England’s hospitals.

– Professor Peter Openshaw of Imperial College, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said a Covid vaccine could be available “as early as next week”.

– Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has written to the region’s 27 MPs calling for cross-party support to demand more money for areas in Tier 3 and to get some restrictions lifted in two weeks’ time.

– The Government announced it had secured another two million doses of US firm Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, which trials suggest is 95 per cent effective.

– Labour urged ministers to suspend peak rail fares and provide mass coronavirus testing for transport workers to avoid travel “chaos” over Christmas.

Watch: How England's new three-tier COVID system will work

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