Coronavirus: Another 24,701 cases and 310 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours

·2-min read

Another 24,701 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK while a further 310 have died, according to the latest government data.

This is an increase of 1,816 infections compared with Tuesday's figures - although the number of deaths dropped by 57 compared with the 367 recorded yesterday, which was the highest daily number since May.

It brings the total number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test to 45,675 - and the total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 942,275.

The latest figures come as Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure to tighten lockdown measures across the country, with infections surging nationwide.

The whole of Nottinghamshire will go into Tier 3 lockdown on Friday, the government has confirmed.

And there is speculation that West Yorkshire will also be elevated to Tier 3 at a later date.

Meanwhile, there were 37 coronavirus-related deaths in Wales on Wednesday - the highest number of fatalities in a single day seen since April.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he was "deeply saddened" by the latest fatality figures, which come on day five of the country's 17-day circuit breaker lockdown.

The increasing number of deaths do not come as much of a surprise to government advisers, who have warned that figures could remain in triple digits for at least three months.

Rising deaths are likely to "continue for some time," Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director of Public Health England, said on Tuesday.

Professor Andrew Hayward, from UCL's institute of epidemiology and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), also said the government was in danger of leaving it "too late" to impose a short national lockdown to bring transmission under control.

He told Sky News "more intensive action" was needed - and preferably before Christmas.

"Last time we had lockdown which went on four months and one of the reasons for that was because we acted too late," he said.

It comes as hospital admissions for coronavirus continue to climb.

Northern Ireland is now treating more patients than the spring peak - 360 compared with 322.

In Scotland, 1,100 people are being treated, compared with 1,520. Wales is at 685, compared with 919.

In England - despite thousands more cases each day - hospitalisations for COVID-19 stand at 8,171 - that's still under half the spring peak of 17,172.

But it is a different picture in some Tier 3 hotspots.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said hospitals in Liverpool, Lancashire and Nottingham were treating more patients than April.

He said four cancer operations in Nottingham had to be cancelled due to "pressure on intensive care units".

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust also said "some procedures and non-inpatient activity will have to be postponed" to manage "large numbers of very sick patients".