UK records its highest Covid death toll since April

The UK recorded 981 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test on Wednesday, the highest daily death toll since April.

The figure, which is likely to be partially attributable to a lag in reporting deaths over the Christmas period, is the highest since the 1,010 recorded on 24 April, and is an increase of 175% compared with the previous 24 hours.

The cumulative number of deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began rose to 72,548. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, , together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 88,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The number of new coronavirus cases fell slightly to 50,023 on Wednesday, from a record 53,135 over the previous 24 hours.

Yvonne Doyle, a medical director at Public Health England, said the figures illustrated the important of public vigilance, despite the hope offered by vaccines.

Each life that this virus claims is a sadness and our thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one during this pandemic,” she said. “We now have two licensed vaccines and hope is on the way, but it is crucial that people keep their contacts to an absolute minimum to help drive infections down.

“We must protect vulnerable people who may need the NHS to be there for them and save lives. The basics remain very important: keep your distance from others, wash your hands, wear a mask, and abide by the restrictions in place.”

According to the daily update, the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the period from 24 December to 30 December rose by 19.9% from the previous seven days, to 283,337.

In April the highest highest reported single-day toll announced during a government briefing was 980, on 10 April, but that was because only deaths in hospital were being included at the time, not those in care homes and private residences.

Millions more people in England will be moved into tier 4, the highest category of restrictions, from Thursday, and secondary schools across England are to be closed to most pupils for the first two weeks of term.


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