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COVID daily death toll tops 1,200 as number of patients in hospital hits new high

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read
Ambulance crews transport patients into City Hospital in Birmingham. The West Midlands has several areas in the top 10 highest-growing coronavirus numbers.
Ambulance crews transport patients into City Hospital in Birmingham. The West Midlands has several areas in the top 10 highest-growing coronavirus numbers. (PA)

A further 1,243 people have died within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19 in the UK, bringing the total death toll to 83,203.

Hospital figures have also hit a new high with 35,075 COVID patients on wards as of Monday – a 22% increase from last week.

Home secretary Priti Patel announced the new figures at a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday, adding that 2,431,648 people have now received a vaccine.

The four nations also recorded 45,535 new cases on Tuesday, according to the official data.

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This latest death toll is lower than the record 1,326 fatalities reported on Friday, which also saw a further 68,053 cases.

The UK has seen one of the worst death tolls in the world and in parts of London, it's believed that one in 20 people are infected.

The latest figures come after the UK government's chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, said the next weeks of the pandemic will be the worst yet to hit that country – even as it rushes to ramp up its mass vaccination programme.

A paramedic works in the back of an ambulance, parked outside the Royal London hospital in London on January 12, 2021 as surging cases of the novel coronavirus are placing health services under increasing pressure. - People who flout coronavirus lockdown rules are putting lives at risk, the British government said on Tuesday, as cases surge to record highs and rumours swirl of potentially tougher restrictions. Britain is currently in its third lockdown, with schools and non-essential shops closed, as a new strain of the virus spreads rapidly across the country. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
A paramedic works in the back of an ambulance, parked outside the Royal London hospital. (Getty Images)

Making a rare broadcast round of TV and radio stations on Monday, Prof Whitty also said the new variant of the virus – which has caused record infections, hospital admissions and deaths in recent weeks – “undoubtedly” makes every outdoor situation “slightly more dangerous”.

Now, the government is reportedly considering the introduction of even tougher lockdown restrictions in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Boris Johnson and other senior ministers have discussed scrapping the exemption allowing people in England to exercise with another person from outside their household as people continue to flout the rules, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Watch: COVID-19: Peak demand on hospitals might not come until next month, expert says

On Sunday, scientists called for the introduction of stricter “Asia-style” lockdown rules to tackle the new COVID-19 variant.

It comes after the British Medical Association reported that more than 46,000 doctors and nurses have contracted coronavirus.

Meanwhile, health chiefs said some patients have waited up to nine hours in ambulances outside hospitals.

Health secretary Matt Hancock also warned that "the pressure on the NHS is very, very bad" with the number of COVID patients in hospitals at a record high as he urged people to stick to the lockdown rules.

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In the meantime, seven mass vaccination centres have now opened, and there's hope of reaching all those in the top four priority groups – about 15 million – by the middle of February.

The hubs which are located in Bristol, Surrey, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Stevenage and Birmingham.

Queues formed outside the sites early on Monday morning as nurses prepared to vaccinate thousands at socially distanced tables or cubicles.

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