Another 144 die with Covid in big drop from last Sunday

Another 144 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, bringing the overall death toll to 63,745.

A further 18,447 positive cases have also been reported in the last 24 hours by the Department of Health. This means a total of 1,827,902 people have caught the virus since the start of the UK’s outbreak.

This is a marked decrease in fatalities from last week, when 231 deaths were reported.

However, positive cases have jumped up from 17,272 last Sunday.

Yesterday’s figures showed the virus had claimed the lives of 519 people, while a further 21,502 tested positive – a high number for the weekend when there is usually a drop in figures due to a lag in reporting.

The figures cover deaths in all settings including care homes and the wider community.

England’s three-tier Covid-19 system will be reviewed on Wednesday, with the capital at risk of being plunged under the strictest measures following a spike in cases.

The latest Government data shows London currently has the highest infection rate in the UK, with cases rising in 24 of the city’s 32 boroughs.

However, the vast majority of regions recorded a week-on-week fall prompting hope that many could be moved down a tier.

But hospital bosses have warned that any further relaxing of the rules could trigger a third wave at the NHS’s busiest time of year.

In an urgent letter to the prime minister, NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, said all areas should be moved to the highest tier of restrictions ‘as soon as this is needed, without any delay’.

Chief executive Chris Hopson told the BBC: ‘We’re about to hit our busiest time of year so people are really worried that if we relax the restrictions now the NHS simply won’t be able to cope with all of the work that it needs to do in late December, January and February.’

But the Government confirmed Christmas bubbles and the five-day relaxation period will still go ahead despite NHS bosses’ stark warning.

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