ANOTHER 1,295 people have died with Covid in the UK – amid warnings the peak of the second wave hasn’t yet been reached.
Some 41,346 more cases have been recorded – meaning 3,357,365 people have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic took hold.
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The UK’s coronavirus death toll has risen again today as Brits battle through the second waveCredit: EPA
Boris Johnson last night closed all travel corridors – leaving desperate Brits scrambling to get homeCredit: EPA
The PM acted amid concerns over new mutations that could impact the successful roll-out of the vaccineCredit: PA:Press Association
High numbers of fatalities have been recorded all week, although there are hopes new cases are finally beginning to decrease.
But deaths are still surging – and the past five days have each seen more than 1,000 fatalities.
Another 771 people have died in hospitals in England.
In Scotland, 1,753 new cases were reported and 78 more have died.
Meanwhile, in Wales, 1,129 more people have tested positive and 55 have lost their lives.
It comes as:
Today, an expert said England’s third national lockdown could drag on for weeks to come – and easing restrictions in February would be a “disaster”.
Sage scientist Professor John Edmunds today warned if Boris Johnson lifts shutdowns too soon, the NHS will face “enormous pressure”.
Prof Edmunds told the BBC: “I think it would be a disaster if we removed restrictions in, say, the end of February when we have gone through this first wave of the vaccination.”
Some 3.5million people in the UK have now received one or two jabs – and infections have plunged by 23 per cent over the past seven days.
Ten more mass vaccination centres will also open next week alongside those already running in places such as cathedrals and former nightclubs.
And yesterday, the PM axed all travel corridors to stop more mutant strains of Covid hitting the UK – leaving Brits abroad in a desperate struggle to get home.
Boris Johnson made the decision to cut off Brits amid fears of new mutations of the virus that could impact the successful roll-out of the vaccine.
Addressing the nation last night, Mr Johnson said: “We are making such progress with the vaccine. What we don’t want is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine-busting.
“It is vital to toughen restrictions now when day by day, hour by hour we are making such strides in protecting the population.”
In London, the R-rate is as low as 0.6, academics say
At least two new strains – from Brazil and South Africa – have been identified which are even more easily spread – sparking panic among medics.
The most concerning variant, also detected in Japan, has not yet been found in the UK. But scientists have now confirmed a second mutation has been in Britain “some time” and been spotted 11 times.
Mr Johnson also warned shoppers about the risk of picking up goods in supermarkets for the first time.
“Please remember that this disease can be passed on, not just by standing too near someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person,” he said during the address.
“Remember also that one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms and that’s why the original message of ‘hands, face, space’ is as important now as it has ever been.”
Elsewhere, hundreds of soldiers will be sent to support London hospitals amid surging cases
Some 10,000 Londoners are testing positive for Covid every day – even as the R-rate drops to 0.6.
The capital has been at the epicentre of the pandemic’s second wave – and officials say a super-infectious mutant strain will stop cases falling as quickly.
Professor Kevin Fenton of Public Health England said: “Case rates in London remain extremely high and around 10,000 Londoners were diagnosed with Covid every day this week.
“This level of transmission is severe, and continues to drive pressure on the NHS, with more Londoners being admitted to ICU and ultimately dying of this disease or having long-term complications.
“As a result, we have more difficult weeks ahead of us.”
10,000 Londoners are testing positive for Covid every day, health chiefs have warned