Another 603 UK coronavirus deaths have been reported today – hours before England comes out of its second national lockdown.
The latest official figures show Covid-19 cases are continuing to drop, with another 13,430 people testing positive, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,643,086.
The overall death toll for the UK now stands at 59,051, though separate figures from statistics agencies and more recent deaths suggest Covid-19 has been linked to some 74,000 deaths.
Today’s death toll, the highest since 696 reported deaths on November 25, is a significant rise on the past couple of days – but figures at the weekend are often lower since reporting can lag behind. However, they will still alarm scientists and those who fear a third national lockdown in England, which is set to return to a harsher tiered system from tomorrow.
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It comes as Northern Ireland’s official death toll topped 1,000.
Health minister Robin Swann said the region had passed a ‘sad milestone’ after 15 further fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll collated by the Department of Health to 1,011.
Another 391 confirmed cases of the virus were also recorded in the last 24-hours bringing the total to 52,856.
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra)’s death toll has already passed 1,000 – with the figure standing at 1,333 last week.
Meanwhile, NHS England said earlier that a further 350 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospitals in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in the setting to 40,938.
Patients were aged between 31 and 98. All except nine, aged between 44 and 92, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between October 25 and November 30, with the majority on or after November 24.
20 other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
In Scotland, 34 new deaths and 754 positive cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 3,759.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said the daily test positivity rate is 7.3%, up from 6.1% on Monday, with a total of 95,811 people now testing positive in total.
There have been a further 667 cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 81,009.
Public Health Wales reported another 23 deaths, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 2,563.
It comes as ‘Covid passports’ were ruled out for pub trips, while Boris Johnson confirmed that ‘wet pubs’ will receive £1,000 each to help them through the winter period.
Elsewhere, a new tool has been devised to show the likelihood of catching coronavirus in different scenarios.
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