Coronavirus: Another 23,065 COVID-19 cases and 280 deaths recorded in last 24 hours

A further 23,065 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK and another 280 have died, according to the latest government data.

This is a fall from the numbers seen in Wednesday’s figures – when 24,701 people tested positive for COVID-19 and 310 deaths were recorded.

It brings the total number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test to 45,955 – and the total number of coronavirus cases now stands at 965,340.

The seven-day total of 154,873 cases was up by 13.2% on the previous seven-day period, government data showed.

The latest figures come as Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure to tighten lockdown measures across the country, with infections surging nationwide despite the three-tier system in place in England.

Parts of the Midlands, Yorkshire as well as Luton and Oxford city will move into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from 12.01am on Saturday.

The whole of Nottinghamshire will go into Tier 3 lockdown on Friday, the government has confirmed, meaning 8.7 million people across the country will be living under the controls by the end of the week.

And there is speculation that West Yorkshire will also be elevated to Tier 3 at a later date.

The move would see another three million people living under the highest level of restrictions, joining areas including Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City region where the measures have already been imposed.

Scientists have warned that the COVID-19 epidemic has reached a “critical stage” with the surge of daily infections – and that existing measures to control the virus aren’t working.

They argue more stringent action is needed nationwide “sooner rather than later” after a study by Imperial College London found that almost 100,000 people are catching COVID-19 every day in England.

Pressure on the government is also mounting after France announced it would enter a second lockdown from Friday and Germany imposes a four-week national lockdown.

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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government will “try everything in our power” to avoid a “blanket national lockdown,” however Home Secretary Priti Patel said it would not be ruled out.

Mr Jenrick said infection rates are in a “bad place” all over the UK, adding the government is resisting another national lockdown.

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