ANOTHER 19,790 Brits were diagnosed with coronavirus overnight – 39 per cent higher than this time last week.
And 151 more lives were lost across the UK as the country battles a second wave of Covid – fewer than yesterday, when 174 people lost their lives, and Friday, when 224 new deaths were recorded.
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Today's infection tally is significantly less than Wednesday's biggest ever infection rise of 26,688.
However, cases are usually lower on Sundays due to the weekend lag in reporting.
Last Sunday, October 18, 14,170 people were newly diagnosed. The week before, October 11, 12,038 tests were positive – meaning this Sunday's total is a whopping 64 per cent higher.
A further 76 people have died in hospitals in England.
Patients were aged between 43 and 100, and all but three – who were aged between 71 and 83 – had known underlying health conditions.
The Midlands saw the most deaths – 26 – while 20 lives were lost in the north-west and 14 in the north-east and Yorkshire.
Seven people died in the south-east, five in the east, two in the south-west and two in London.
In Scotland, where a new five-stage lockdown plan has been revealed, 1,303 new cases were recorded, and one more person died.
And in Wales, which is on the second full day of a national firebreak lockdown, 1,014 people have tested positive overnight – and five more have died with the virus.
Figures for Northern Ireland aren't yet available.
It comes as:
- Boozed-up Barbarians – including Chris Robshaw – were recorded breaking corona rules in a pub
- Half-term holidaymakers heading to the Canary Islands face Covid confusion
- A McDonald's worker tests positive after coughing continuously throughout a shift
- Fed-up Brits are willing to break virus laws to see friends and family, a study has found
- Warrington heads into a tier three lockdown 48 hours earlier than planned
Soldiers have been drafted in to tier three lockdown zones to help combat coronavirus outbreaks, it's been revealed.
The British Army and Navy were deployed in Liverpool on Friday to assist health officers enforcing Covid rules.
The team will help track down clusters of infections, control outbreaks, and enforce Covid rules against businesses breaking the law.
It's understood more officers will be moved in tier three areas – which include Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire – in the coming weeks.
And today, as more areas of the UK are set for strict new lockdowns, a top Tory MP has said NHS Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding should be axed from her job.
Boris Johnson ally Sir Bernard Jenkin made the comments on the day it was revealed Boris Johnson could cut the 14-day self-isolation period in half – because Brits are ignoring the Test and Trace system.
"The immediate priority is to fill the vacuum of leadership," he said.
"The challenge for the government is becoming one of public confidence."
Test and Trace hit a record low this week, with just 59.6 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to self-isolate.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor has ordered Treasury officials to publish the economic cost of coronavirus alongside daily data on the deadly bug.
Rishi Sunak has called for civil servants to find ways to show Brits the 'other trade-offs' as half of people living in England face strict new lockdowns until tiers two and three.
It's understood Mr Sunak plans to show the public the 'hit on GDP' of taking a region between tiers, or introducing a national 'circuit breaker' lockdown.
It comes as a source close to the top politician said: "The average age for Covid deaths is higher than average life expectancy."
The average age of those who have died from coronavirus in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic is 82.4, analysis by University of Oxford researchers using Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown.
Life expectancy in the UK is 79.4 years for men and 83.1 for women, according to the latest ONS report.
And a Tory MP said: "We are trashing the lives of young people to save 80-year-olds."
And Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is facing fury over a 17-day national shutdown.
Stores are now unable to sell clothes to customers and staff are being told to prioritise the sale of "important" essential goods during the lockdown.
The decision to tape off items including kettles, children's clothes, warm jumpers, birthday cards, duvets and mops has caused widespread anger.
All non-essential shops, pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels must shut altogether during the restrictions, which came into force on Friday evening.
Food shops, off-licences, pharmacies, banks and post offices are allowed to remain open.
And today, it's been confirmed that Welsh ministers are considering another firebreak in January or February.
Deputy minister for economy and transport Lee Waters told BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see.
“The projections and papers we published on our worse-case scenario projections show it is likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or February.”
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