UK coronavirus hospital death toll rises by 199 as infections drop in England

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The UK's coronavirus hospital death toll has increased by 199 amid a study that found infections have dropped by almost a third in England during the lockdown.

England reported 183 fatalities, Northern Ireland had 10 and Scotland and Wales both recorded three to bring the UK hospital total to 47,399.

Tolls on Mondays tend to be lower due to a weekend lag in reporting fatalities.

By comparison, the number of deaths announced on recent Mondays was 190 on November 23, 212 on November 16, 185 on November 9, 129 on November 2 and 103 on October 26.

The lowest increase on a Monday was two fatalities on August 17, while the highest was 697 on April 13 when the UK was going through the initial peak of the pandemic.

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NHS England announced a further 183 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in hospitals in England to 40,588.

The latest victims were aged between 52 and 95. All except three (aged 84 to 93) had known underlying health conditions.

By region, there were 57 deaths in North East & Yorkshire, 55 in the Midlands, 19 in the North West, 16 in the South East, 13 in London, 12 in the South West and 11 in the East.

Research by Imperial College London suggests coronavirus infections have dropped by almost a third in England during the second national lockdown.

This chart shows the number of coronavirus patients in hospital in England
(Image: Press Association Images)

England will return to a three-tier system this week after the national lockdown

Regionally, the research suggests infections fell by more than half in the North West and North East, and were also down in Yorkshire and the Humber. But prevalence remained high in the East Midlands and West Midlands.

Downing Street has declined to rule out the possibility of imposing a third national lockdown on England.

Asked about the possibility, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The whole purpose of the regionalised tiered approach and the rationale behind placing places into individual tiers is to build on the gains that have already been made in terms of reducing the transmission of the virus, that's why we've introduced the approach."

Pressed again to rule out that a fresh national lockdown could be introduced, he said: "You've seen from stats this morning showing that Covid cases have fallen and we've seen the R rate fall over previous weeks.

"We want to continue to see that trend, we want to continue to see the transmission rate of the virus decrease and that's the purpose of the tiering approach."

Northern Ireland's death toll increased by 10 to 996.

Scotland recorded three deaths from coronavirus and 369 positive cases in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 3,275.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases in the UK
(Image: Press Association Images)

This chart shows coronavirus case rates in the East Midlands
(Image: Press Association Images)

Speaking at the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said the daily test positivity rate is 6.1%, up from 5.2% on Sunday.

Ms Sturgeon said there had been a "technical issue" with the reporting systems overnight meaning the figures reported may be "slightly lower" than expected.

A total of 95,058 people have tested positive in Scotland, up from 94,689 the previous day.

Of the new cases, 133 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 49 in Lanarkshire, and 48 in Lothian.

There are 1,041 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, a fall of eight in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 75 are in intensive care, down by one.

In Wales, the death toll climbed by three to 2,540.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in Wales will be forced to stop selling alcohol and to shut by 6pm in a new round of restrictions that begin on Friday night ahead of Christmas, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

The new regulations that come into force from 6pm on December 4 will also see cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues forced to shut their doors until they are reviewed on December 17.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the end of Wales's 17-day firebreak lockdown and amid another rise in coronavirus cases particularly among under-25s in 17 of the country's 22 local authorities.

Mr Drakeford defended the firebreak lockdown but said new restrictions on the hospitality industry have to be imposed as numbers have risen faster than "anticipated or hoped".

"I don't think that we took the wrong decision in relation to the lockdown itself," he told reporters.

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Meanwhile, the minister responsible for the rollout of coronavirus vaccines has said the jabs will not be compulsory.

Health minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I think it is right that it is voluntary.

"People have to be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated or otherwise.

"But, I think the very strong message that you will see, this is the way we return the whole country, and so it's good for your family, it's good for your community, it's good for your country to be vaccinated.

"And, ultimately people will have to make a decision."

Asked whether people who get the Covid-19 jab will receive some kind of "immunity passport" to show they have been vaccinated, Mr Zahawi said: "We are looking at the technology."

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