UK Covid death toll soars by more than double from last Sunday – but data error blamed

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The UK coronavirus death toll soared by 398 today, more than a double the increase last Sunday of 168.

There is normally a so-called 'weekend lag' with the official statistics on Sundays but officials have blamed a data error for the worrying spike.

On the Covid-19 UK dashboard there is a warning that "due to a processing update, 141 previously published deaths within 28 days in England were excluded from the published data on 21 November.

"This issue has now been corrected for data published on 22 November, which includes deaths omitted yesterday in today’s total."

The UK total is now 55,024.

British Army soldiers process and record coronavirus tests inside Anfield Stadium
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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The UK has recorded 18,662 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours. That compares to 24,962 reported last Sunday.

This afternoon it was confirmed that the four nations of the UK have agreed that additional households will be allowed to bubble over the festive period.

Ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have endorsed a shared objective of allowing "some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days" over Christmas, the Cabinet Office said.

(Image: Getty Images)

But before the festive period England's three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions will have to be strengthened to get the country through the winter months, a senior health official warned.

The system, introduced last month, saw areas put into different categories labelled medium, high or very high risk, with the medium level also referred to as Tier 1, high as Tier 2 and very high as Tier 3.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government hopes the national lockdown will be replaced on December 2 with a tiered system "similar to what we had before".

But Dr Susan Hopkins, an epidemiologist, said Tier 1 coronavirus restrictions had "little effect", while the impact of Tier 2 varied in different places.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still detail the strengthened tiered system in a statement to the House of Commons on Monday, but the full details of the festive relaxation is not expected until after the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland consult their own cabinets.

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