COVID-19: UK's weekly infection rate drops by 25% as latest daily figures are revealed

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Coronavirus infections across the UK appear to have dropped significantly, according to the government's daily data.

In the last week there have been 121,306 cases of coronavirus recorded, a 25% drop on the week before, which saw 163,061 infections.

The figures come as 17,555 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours along with 498 further deaths.

It comes despite Wednesday's government figures showing the UK had recorded 696 deaths and a further 18,213 cases - the highest daily total for fatalities since 5 May.

Earlier, it emerged that 99% of the population in England will be living under the toughest two tiers when a new system of restrictions is introduced next week.

About 32 million people - just over 57% of the population - will be in Tier 2, while 23.3 million - 41.5% of the population - will be in Tier 3.

Just 1% of the population - 714,000 people - will be living under Tier 1 restrictions.

The tiered system has been strengthened since the original rules were in place before lockdown, with many more areas in the higher tiers in a bid to keep infection rates down.

Warrington and Liverpool are the only two places in the country which will face eased restrictions from 2 December - both are moving from Tier 3 of the previous lockdown system to Tier 2.

The number of coronavirus infections across the UK is showing signs of levelling off - but positivity rates still remain high in some areas and among secondary school children and young adults, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

From 15 to 21 November, the ONS infection survey estimates there were 633,000 cases in England - a drop of 31,700 on the previous week.