The United Kingdom has recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus daily deaths for the first time since April as the government struggles to deal with a new, more infectious variant of the virus.
The UK recorded 1,041 deaths and 62,322 new cases on Wednesday, according to official data, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised his government would use “every available second” to shield the elderly and the vulnerable from the virus rampaging across the UK.
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Britain has been among the worst-hit by COVID-19, with the highest death toll in Europe.
More than 75,000 people in the UK have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The figures were another stark reminder of the severity of the crisis as England and Scotland started new COVID-19 lockdowns this week, with citizens ordered to stay at home.
Politicians are expected to approve England’s third national lockdown because there is a wide consensus on the need for tougher restrictions to control soaring new infections.
“When the Office for National Statistics reports that more than two percent of the population is now infected, and when the number of patients in hospitals in England is now 40 percent higher than the first peak in April, it is inescapable that the facts are changing, and we must change our response,” Johnson said.
When Johnson announced the stay-at-home order and the nationwide closure of gyms, pubs, restaurants and nonessential shops on Monday, he said the lockdown terms would remain in place until mid-February.
By that time, the government hopes to have given one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to about 13 million people who are most at risk — including everyone in the country older than 70 — and the progress may potentially allow for some relaxation of the restrictions.