Coronavirus death toll reaches 54,286 after a further 511 people die

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Covid-19 has claimed the lives of another 511 people in the UK.

The death toll from the disease across the country now stands at 54,286.

There were 22,287 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the latest daily figures, down from 22,915 cases recorded on Thursday.

A total of 1,473,508 have now tested positive since the pandemic began.

Last Friday 563 people were killed by the bug.

At that point that was the highest Friday death toll since May 1, when 634 people died.

By way of comparison a further 501 people lost their lives with Covid-19 in the UK yesterday, compared to 529 on Wednesday and 598 the day before that.

Tuesday's figure represented the highest single day rise in Covid-19 deaths in the UK since May.

While the daily case and death figures remain high, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to tick up
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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According to leaked documents the NHS is planning to roll out the coronavirus vaccine to under 50s by the end of January.

Under the plan everyone in England who wants to would have been vaccinated by early April.

Two Covid vaccines have already been proven to be effective but still need to pass safety tests before they are rolled out to the public.

And a third, produced by Oxford/AstraZeneca, this week reported good news about its effectiveness among the elderly.

According to the plans the vaccines will be rolled out to under-50s by the end of January
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As healthcare is devolved the NHS services in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be creating their own plans.

If the vaccines work as early trials suggest they will, and the roll out proves successful, then dramatic reductions in positive tests and deaths should follow.

At present coronavirus cases are continuing to increase in some regions despite lockdown, a new study has found.

According to the COVID Symptom Study, there has been an increase in the East of England and especially The Midlands – both seeing numbers rising with R values of 1.1 and 1.0 respectively.

In Wales and Scotland, the number of daily new cases continues to decline with R values of 0.9 – with the overall UK R value around 1.0.

The North West and the North East and Yorkshire, both have R values of 0.9 with numbers still declining since their peak at the end of October.

However, in southern regions of England, cases are not declining despite lockdown restrictions, with R Values of 1 in South East, London and South West.

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