The UK's coronavirus hospital death toll has risen by 258, amid warnings we are at a "critical stage" in the battle against the virus.

The tragic figure, announced by health authorities, includes 192 fatalities in England, 37 in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland and 21 in Wales.

It is the biggest daily rise in hospital deaths in five months.

Patients who died in English hospitals were aged between 27 and 101 with one, aged 63, having no known underlying health conditions.

The North West saw the highest number of victims, with 73 lives lost, followed by the Midlands with 43.

Earlier today a study found that nearly 100,000 people are contracting coronavirus every day in England - with nearly a million infected at any one time.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI warned that increased hospitalisations and deaths are "inevitable" during the second wave.

It is now feared that the daily rate of new infections could reach higher levels than they did at the start of the pandemic, with the UK's official death count currently standing at 45,675.

The UK's coronavirus death rate continues to rise

The study found the R rate across England - the rate at which the virus spreads - is 1.6, meaning the virus is doubling every nine days.

In London it could be as high as 2.86, the REACT study found.

In their report, scientists warned that measures to control the spread must be followed in order to contain the pandemic.

It said: "The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage.

"While it is possible that some of the current control measures may be too recent to have fed through to the data reported here, the high prevalence already reached and the rapid acceleration mean that inevitably there will be large numbers of hospitalisations and deaths resulting from the second wave.

"Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if yet more hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 are to be avoided."