UK records 55,761 new cases as infection numbers, deaths rise

© Reuters. Royal London Hospital amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain recorded 55,761 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, an increase on the 48,682 cases recorded the previous day, as the number of infections rises despite hopes that lockdowns across the country could start to help push rates down.

The number of new cases began to fall from a Jan. 8 high of 68,053 to 45,533 on Jan. 12 but has since climbed each day as Britain continues to battle a new, more transmissible variant of the virus.

The number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19 also rose to 1,280, slightly higher than the 1,248 recorded the previous day, and the fourth day in a row when the toll has exceeded 1,000.

Britain reported a record daily death toll on Wednesday when 1,564 people died.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to host a news conference on Friday to reinforce his stay at home message amid speculation that the government could tighten lockdown rules further.

Government data showed that the number of people receiving a first dose of the vaccination rose to 3.2 million, from 2.9 million the day before.

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