UK records more than 50,000 COVID cases for seventh day in a row
The number of new daily coronavirus cases in the UK has topped 50,000 for the seventh day in a row.
According to figures published on Monday on the government’s COVID-19 dashboard, there were 58,784 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours – the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.
There were also 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, pushing the UK’s confirmed death toll total to 75,431.
Earlier, Boris Johnson warned that tough new lockdown rules are coming soon in response to the escalating transmission rate.
Watch: Tougher action needed to curb coronavirus spread says PM
The prime minister will speak to the nation in a televised address at 8pm on Monday, Downing Street confirmed.
A No 10 spokesman said: “The spread of the new variant of COVID-19 has led to rapidly escalating case numbers across the country.
“The prime minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives. He will set those out this evening.”
The UK has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks as public health officials struggle to control the spread of the new COVID variant, which is more contagious than previous ones.
Scotland will be placed in a full lockdown from midnight on Monday until the end of January at the earliest, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
In an emergency statement to the Scottish Parliament, the first minister said schools will remain closed in January.
She said also that there will be a legal requirement for people to stay at home.
The number of daily positive cases in the country has risen to a new record high, hitting 1,905 on Monday.
Watch: First Oxford vaccine dose administered in UK
Earlier on Monday, during a visit to a vaccination centre in north London, Boris Johnson acknowledged there was “no question” that further measures would be necessary as cases continue to surge.
“If you look at the numbers, there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course,” Johnson said.
The latest data also shows a 41% rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day and 3 January, a figure that has caused alarm in Whitehall and the health service.
While ministers hailed the rollout of the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Johnson warned that the nation needed to prepare for some “tough” weeks ahead as the jab is extended to the most vulnerable.
The announcements come on the day that people in the UK began receiving the vaccine.
Britain has secured the rights to 100 million doses of the newly approved vaccine, which is cheaper and easier to use than some of its rivals.
For example, it doesn’t require the super-cold storage needed for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the other COVID jab that has been approved for use in the UK.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out another national lockdown for England as cases and hospital admissions continue to rise.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday the crisis facing the NHS is “off-the-scale worse” than previous winters.
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