THE coronavirus death toll has surpassed the grim total of 75,000 – after 454 fatalities were recorded in Britain today.
It is also the sixth day in a row that the Covid infection figure has broken 50,000, bringing the total number of positive tests in Britain to 2,654,779.
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A total of 54,990 more people in Britain have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
Today's rise in cases is a jump from last Sunday, when 30,501 people tested positive for the virus.
That is the equivalent to a 47 per cent increase in infections since last week.
And another 454 Covid deaths were recorded, meaning 75,024 people have now died from the bug in the UK since the start of the pandemic.
This makes today the highest Sunday death toll increase since May.
And on December 27, 317 people lost their lives to Covid – meaning that the death toll has increased by 24.5 per cent in a week.
Yesterday, UK coronavirus cases reached a record high as 57,725 new infections were recorded in a 24-hour period.
But today's death toll has increased by nine in comparison to yesterday's 445.
It comes as…
- Boris Johnson today refused to rule out a “Tier 5” lockdown and warned he may have to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions “in the next few weeks”.
- The PM told parents to send their kids to primary schools, stressing that they are safe.
- Critically ill coronavirus patients will be moved from London and the South East to the West County as wards continue to be overwhelmed during the second wave.
- Headteachers have warned that GCSE and A-level exams must be cancelled this summer after plans to reopen schools were thrown into chaos.
- Almost a quarter of people in England live in an area with no vaccination centre, figures show, indicating a postcode lottery for coronavirus jabs.
Public Health Wales said there had been 56 further deaths, and Northern Ireland reported another six today.
Scotland did not report any further coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday.
Today, Boris Johnson refused to rule out a “Tier 5” lockdown and warned he may have to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions “in the next few weeks”.
The Prime Minister said we need to be “realistic” about the pace of which the new mutant Covid variant is spreading across the country.
He said new “tougher” measures may need to be used in “many parts of the country” in a desperate bid to reduce the number of coronavirus cases.
He also insisted that schools were safe – just a day before kids are set to return to classrooms after the Christmas holidays.
Meanwhile, critically ill coronavirus patients will be moved from London and the South East to the West County as wards continue to be overwhelmed during the second wave.
Brits with Covid-19 will travel hundreds of miles to “pair” areas where the NHS has not yet been overwhelmed by the rise in cases.
And this evening, leader of the Labour party Sir Keir Starmer called for a national lockdown to come into force within the next 24 hours – urging Boris Johnson to "do it now".
The growing death and case tolls come a day after Matt Hancock revealed more than one million Brits have now had the Covid vaccine while declaring the "end is in sight".
Mr Hancock tweeted yesterday: "Huge THANK YOU to everyone playing their part in the national effort to beat coronavirus.
GROWING INFECTION RATES
"Over a million people have been vaccinated already.
"With the vaccine roll-out accelerating, the end is in sight & we will get through this together."
However – almost a quarter of people in England live in an area with no vaccination centre, figures show, indicating a postcode lottery for coronavirus jabs.
A total of 697 vaccine centres have so far been set up in hospitals, GP surgeries, and public buildings across England – but NHS England data shows that 13million people live in a constituency where no site has yet been set up.
Among the towns without any centres ready are Bedford, Newark, and Braintree.
Nottingham, with a population of around 330,000, has only one.
London, where seven-day infections rates are currently around double the national average, has just eight sites for every one million people – a lower level than any other area in the country.
The news comes against a backdrop of tough Covid restrictions, with almost all of England now living under Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions.
All primary schools in London will now remain shut for at least an extra two weeks after Christmas as cases spiral – with calls for schools across the country to follow.
One headteachers' union has launched legal action against the government, demanding all schools shut.
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