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UK records over 50,000 COVID cases overnight for first time

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-12-30 09:04
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People walk across London Bridge as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, Britain, Dec 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Britain recorded more than 50,000 coronavirus cases overnight for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, according to official figures released Tuesday.

Another 53,135 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, marking a new record daily increase in coronavirus cases in the country, according to the official figures.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 2,382,865, the data showed.

Another 414 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 71,567, the data showed.

The latest figures were revealed as a scientist advising the British government warned Tuesday that "decisive" national action is needed to prevent a "catastrophe" in the new year.

Britain is "entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic" due to the spread of a new coronavirus variant, said Prof Andrew Hayward, a member of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag).

"We're going to need decisive, early, national action to prevent a catastrophe in January and February," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The previous levels of restrictions that worked before won't work now, and so Tier Four restrictions are likely to be necessary, or even higher than that".

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce any changes to England's tier restrictions on Wednesday.

Also on Tuesday, the chief of the country's National Health Service (NHS) warned that Britain is "back in the eye of the storm" as the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in England's hospitals has overtaken the peak in April.

"Now again we are back in the eye of the storm with a second wave of coronavirus sweeping Europe and, indeed, this country," Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS, said during a visit to an NHS vaccination centre.

The British government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged all regions of England to be placed in highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions. People are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas.

The number of coronavirus patients being treated in London hospitals has increased by almost 1,000 since Christmas Eve, stark new figures reveal.

On Monday, there were 4,957 people in hospital with the virus, compared to 3,966 on Dec 24, a 25 percent rise in five days.

Unlike the UK as a whole London is yet to exceed its first wave peak of hospital patients, which hit 5,201 on April 9.

London and many other parts of England have already been under Tier Four restrictions. For those in Tiers One, Two and Three, up to three households were allowed to meet only on the Christmas Day, while in Tier Four, people should not mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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