Coronavirus: UK records 23,000 more confirmed COVID cases - latest govt figures

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The UK has recorded 23,254 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday - up from the 21,915 recorded the day before.

The latest government figures also show that 162 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded on Sunday, down from the 326 recorded on Saturday.

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It comes after the number of confirmed cases in the UK surpassed the one million mark on Saturday. The country has now recorded a total of 1,034,914 cases.

And the total number of deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test now stands at 46,717.

The latest numbers come after it was announced England would be placed into a second lockdown from Thursday.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has since told Sky News the month of measures could be extended beyond 2 December if necessary.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Tory frontbencher also defended the delay in reintroducing the nationwide restrictions, which had been called for by the government's own scientific advisers back in September.

Mr Gove said tougher action was needed now because the "situation has been worse than any of us expected" and threatened to overwhelm the NHS.

Meanwhile, a leading scientist has told Sky News keeping schools open during the lockdown could mean infection rates stay higher for longer and could result in an extended lockdown.

Former chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport said the November restrictions were not as "severe" as the first time round, and that there was a "possibility" the restrictions may need to stay in place for more than four weeks.

In an interview with Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday, he warned: "It's unlikely this time to come down quite as fast as it did during the first lockdown because we have got schools open."

Under the restrictions soon to be enforced in England, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons, such as education, work or food shopping.

Colleges and universities will also remain open while those who cannot work from home, such as construction or manufacturing workers, will be encouraged to continue going to their workplaces.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will close across the country too, although they will be able to offer takeaway and delivery services.