COVID deaths have topped 1,000 for the first time since April and cases have jumped by 62,322 in the highest daily rise ever for the second day running.
Infections have surged in recent weeks after a mutant strain ripped through Britain with cases passing 50,000 for nine days in a row.
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Deaths today rose by 1,041 – bringing the total to 77,346 – in the highest rise since April 21 when 1,224 were recorded by the government.
But media outlets have reported the deadliest ever day was April 8 when 1,445 sadly died after deaths hit 1,000 for 22 days in a row.
The total number of cases now stands at 2,836,801 after 62,322 more infections were recorded.
This is the highest rise ever for the second day in a row after 60,916 were recorded yesterday.
It comes as…
- Mass Covid vaccination hubs are due to open across the UK next week
- Boris Johnson warned lockdown could last until the end of March
- Kids can still go to school if they don't have a laptop or can't work from home
- Clap for Carers is to return tomorrow night with Brits urged to applaud all Covid heroes
- Cops are quizzing Londoners who have fewer “reasonable excuses” to be away from their home
But alarming figures revealed by Boris Johnson yesterday show nearly 1.2million Brits are infected with Covid.
The official data also shows 26,467 are being treated for the disease in hospital.
And one in 30 people in London currently have Covid – four times higher than a month ago.
In England today, 674 more people lost their lives to the disease in hospital – bringing the total to 53,069.
The latest victims were aged between 21 and 101 and all but 29 had known underlying health conditions.
Scotland has suffered a further 68 deaths with their total now at 4,701.
In Wales, 76 new deaths were reported giving a total for the country of 3,738.
While Northern Ireland recorded 13 more deaths – bringing the total to 1,397.
It comes as Boris warned today lockdown could stretch until March 31 under new laws that came in last night.
The PM told MPs he will consider lifting the draconian measures once the most vulnerable have been protected by the Covid vaccine.
He explained: "And as was the case last spring, our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will be not a big bang but a gradual unwrapping.
"That is why the legislation this House will vote on later today runs until 31 March.
"Not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis.
"Carefully, brick-by-brick, as it were, breaking free of our confinement but without risking the hard-won gains that protections have given us."
Boris also promised schools would be the first things to reopen with teacher assessments used in place of summer exams.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also confirmed kids who don't have access to laptops are able to go to school still during the lockdown.
One million laptops have been bought to help kids learn at home, and just over half of them have been dished out to needy pupils, Mr Williamson added.
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