UK coronavirus deaths soar by 1,325 in highest ever daily increase during pandemic
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The UK's coronavirus death toll has risen by a record 1,325 the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.
That is 101 deaths higher than the previous highest daily nationwide toll of 1,224 on April 21, during the peak of the first lockdown.
The UK's official death toll within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test now stands at 79,833.
Infection rates also soared by a record 68,053 in the 24 hours to Friday.
The deaths were recorded across all settings including hospitals, care homes, and the wider community.
The grim figures come as England remains under its third national lockdown.
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A total 1,162 lost their lives to coronavirus on Thursday.
Covid-19 infection rates have been steadily topping 50,000 daily as a new and more virulent mutant strain of the virus spreads throughout the country.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a 'major incident' in the capital today as he said the infection rate in the city had spun 'out of control.'
He said the NHS was at risk of being overwhelmed in the capital.
London and the South East of England are being hard-hit in the second wave
(Image: Press Association Images)
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The number of Covid-19 cases in London has exceeded a rate of 1,000 per 100,000 people, putting immense pressure on the already stretched health service.
Between December 30 and January 6, the number of patients in London hospitals grew by 27% and the number on ventilators increased by 42%.
Over the last three days alone the NHS has announced 477 deaths with the virus in London hospitals.
London Councils said one in 30 in the capital now has the virus.
London hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed by coronavirus pressures
(Image: Getty Images)
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The mutant strain scientists believe originated in Kent has ripped through the capital and England's south east.
The discovery of the new variant prompted the four nations' leaders to axe most plans to relax restrictions over Christmas.
More areas of England were thrust into Tier 4 shortly before Boris Johnson plunged the country into another full lockdown as infection rates skyrocketed.
The Prime Minister put the country on a war footing this week as he declared the British Army would be supporting the UK vaccine rollout.
The armed forces – pictured here testing lorry drivers in Kent – will assist with the vaccine rollout
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His government has set the goal of vaccinating nearly 15million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February.
Following criticism that the jab programme appeared to be moving slowly, the leader said the armed forces would help to ensure 'hundreds of thousands' got their shot each day.
According to the official data, nearly 1.3million people had received their first vaccination as of January 3.
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However officials said this week the updated number is now closer to 1.5m, reflecting a lag on the government's public vaccine data dashboard.
UK government scientists have repeatedly assured they have no reason to believe the vaccines from Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford and Astra Zeneca won't work against the mutant strains of the virus.
A 'major incident' was declared in London on Friday
(Image: Getty Images)
Viruses naturally mutate constantly, but experts had warned the more time Covid-19 has to circulate in the community – the more variants it could spawn.
Pfizer this week said its own laboratory study found the vaccine worked against the latest mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa.
The study by the drug giant and University of Texas Medical Branch has yet to be peer-reviewed, but researchers said the results so far showed the jab appeared effective.