UK COVID cases rise by 55,000, highest one-day jump to date

A man walks past a UK government billboard reminding people to stay home during the New Year, in London, Britain, December 31, 2020. REUTERS / John Sibley
The number of newly reported infections has been released by the government. (Reuters)

Recently reported coronavirus cases in the UK have risen to a record high for the second time this week.

A total of 55,892 new infections were reported Thursday, the highest yet, surpassing Tuesday’s 53,000.

The government also recorded 964 more deaths. It brings the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test to 73,512.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of Public Health England, said: “We know that the overwhelming majority of deaths reported today are people who have sadly passed away in recent days.

“Every life lost due to this disease is a sadness. It is imperative that we all act now to protect our families and friends.

“We’ve all had to make huge sacrifices this year, but be sure to keep your distance from others, wash your hands and wear a mask. A New Years night will mean you dramatically reduce your social contacts and can help stop the spread of the virus. “

Watch: How does the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine work?

It comes after successive increases of more than 50,000 newly reported cases per day, although there may be some lag in numbers during the holiday season.

Tuesday brought the highest number of new cases in a day, with more than 53,000 registered, while Wednesday’s 981 deaths are the most reported in 24 hours since April.

Earlier, besieged Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he believed the government could avoid another lockdown, despite calls for much tighter restrictions to avert a “catastrophe.”

“It’s a robust approach, so I’m confident we won’t go into a national lockdown situation because the hierarchical structure is the right place,” he said.

However, he faced stiff criticism for his attempt to bring back more than 85% of primary schools despite the continued sharp rise in new infections.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London – where some schools in one district could return as primary schools in the neighboring local authority remain closed – said it would be ‘very confusing for parents if some primary were open but others just down the road will not. “.

With the approval of the Oxford vaccine bolstering the UK’s dose supply, a Tory MP called for teachers to be given priority for a shot.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, said BBC breakfast: “What I also want to see are teachers, especially now that we have the Oxford vaccine, that teachers and support staff become a top priority for vaccinations because if we can make sure they are vaccinated and that they are safe, it is less likely that schools will have to close. “

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