UK Covid cases up 20,964 in largest rise for three weeks as another 516 people die
BRITAIN has recorded another 20,964 coronavirus cases in the largest daily rise in three weeks.
Deaths rose by 516, bringing the total to 63,082.
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The rise in infections brings the total case load in the UK to 1,787,783.
Today's jump in cases is significantly higher than last Thursday’s figure of 14,879, and also larger than the 16,272 infections reported a fortnight ago on November 26.
It comes as:
- London now has the highest coronavirus infection rate of any region in the UK, amid fears the capital could be placed in Tier 3.
- Just one in five pubs could be open this Christmas due to Covid restrictions.
- More than 10,000 Covid patients caught the bug in hospital, new figures reveal.
- Brits could be banned from from European holidays from New Year under Covid travel rules.
- Pfizer vaccine data was hacked amid fears that cyber attackers stole Brit jab database from EU regulator.
Meanwhile, NHS England figures showed a further 289 fatalities in English hospitals, bringing the total to 43,537.
One of today's victims was aged 19, while three were aged 20-39.
Seventy-seven deaths were reported in the Midlands, 50 in Yorkshire and the North East, and 48 in the North West.
Scotland recorded 50 hospital deaths, while Wales reported 33 and Northern Ireland saw 14 fatalities.
It comes amid fears that London could be placed in Tier 3 as soon as next week, dealing a devastating blow to the hospitality industry ahead of the busy Christmas period.
The capital, which is currently in Tier 2 restrictions, has the highest infection rate of any region in the UK, according to Public Health England figures released this afternoon.
London diagnosed 191.8 new cases per 100,000 in the week to December 6, which is 20 per cent higher than the week prior, when the whole of England was in the grips of its second lockdown.
This compares to 130.9 cases per 100,000 in the North West, swathes of which are currently in Tier 3.
But industry experts have warned that locking down London could see 150,000 people lose their jobs.
Kate Nicholls, chief exec of UK Hospitality, said closing pubs, restaurants and hotels would deliver a “killer blow” to hundreds of struggling businesses.
While infections are rising in London, separate Public Health England figures show that case rates have fallen slightly across all adult age groups.
The smallest drop is among 40-49 year-olds, where the rate stood at 195.8 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 6, almost unchanged from 195.9 in the previous week.
It comes as the Health Secretary is set to address the nation this evening to deliver an update on the progress of the vaccine rollout.
Mass coronavirus vaccination began on Tuesday, following the approval of the Pfizer jab by the MHRA.
It is hoped that, if the rollout of the vaccine is successful, Brits can finally look forward to resuming normal life next Spring.
Hundreds of vulnerable Brits have already received the jab across 50 NHS hospital hubs, while GP surgeries are preparing to start vaccine appointments next week.
The Government is yet to publish exactly how many people have had the jab, but says information on numbers will be available in due course.
Experts are attempting to calm fears over the Covid vaccine after two healthcare workers developed severe allergic reactions.
Both of the workers have a significant history of allergic reactions – to the extent where they need to carry an adrenaline pen with them at all times, NHS England said.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: "Both are recovering well."
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