UK coronavirus hospital deaths soar by 789 in highest Saturday rise since May

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The UK's coronavirus hospital death toll has increased by 789 which is the highest number ever recorded on a Saturday since May.

England reported 625 fatalities, Scotland had 93, Wales recorded 62 and Northern Ireland had 9 to bring Britain's hospital toll to 789.

The total number of hospital deaths now stands at 65,399.

This number is a huge leap from recent Saturdays as 479 were recorded on January 2, 196 on December 26, 432 on December 19, 393 on December 12 and on December 5 there were 368 deaths.

On Friday – exactly two weeks from Christmas Day – the UK saw its highest ever death toll in all settings since the pandemic began with a record 1,325.

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 number of coronavirus deaths in hospital has increased
(Image: Getty Images)

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The UK's official death toll within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test stands at 79,833 as of Friday but this will be updated later today.

Government scientific advisory group SAGE revealed that the UK's R rate has risen to between 1.0 and 1.4, following household mixing at Christmas.

That means that every 10 infected people are passing the virus to up to 14 others.

The sombre figures come as England remains under its third national lockdown.

Government scientific advisory group SAGE revealed that the UK's R rate has risen to between 1.0 and 1.4
(Image: PA)

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But harsher enforcement rules could be brought in to target coronavirus law flouters, a report says.

The government is said to be considering a 'crackdown' amid fears the NHS could soon be overwhelmed.

A source told the Telegraph ministers were growing increasingly worried about a lack of compliance with lockdown rules as death and infection rates surge nationwide.

Another source told the newspaper officials were also considering reinstating the two-metre social distancing rule – because of the rapid spread of the new and highly virulent strain of Covid-19.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty
(Image: PA)

They said: "Whilst we moved to one metre plus as being ok, in fact with the new variant one metre becomes less OK and two metres is better."

A new government campaign released on Friday carries a stark warning to the public that if they leave their homes "people will die."

The new TV ad, fronted by England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, urges people to stay at home and “act like you’ve got it.”

The latest 'Stay Home, Save Lives' campaign comes as Boris Johnson has vowed some 15million must get their jabs by mid-February.

Critics have cast doubt on his target, as this week ended with around 1.5m people vaccinated overall.

The Prime Minister has brought in the armed forces to aid the effort, telling a Downing Street press conference this week they will help vaccinators carry out 'hundreds of thousands' of jabs a day.

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