The UK has recorded a further 398 coronavirus deaths today, more than double last Sunday’s total of 168
But the Government has blamed today’s surge in death toll on a data processing error which saw 141 fatalities go unreported yesterday.
The deaths excluded from Saturday’s data were added on today’s, meaning the figure for Sunday alone is 257.
This signals a much smaller rise in the number of Covid deaths compared to last week – with the actual increase standing at 53 per cent.
Furthermore, the 18,662 new Covid cases reported today mark a 25 per cent drop on the 24,962 positive tests seen last week.
A Government statement read: ‘Due to a processing update, 141 previously published deaths within 28 days in England were excluded from the published data on November 21.
‘This issue has now been corrected for data published on November 22, which includes deaths omitted yesterday in today’s total and daily number of newly reported deaths.’
Today’s case figures came as:
- There was a 25% decline on the number of cases as compared with last Sunday, with another 18,662 cases recorded, while there were 398 deaths, an increase of 137% on last week’s figure
- US pharmaceutical firm Novavax raised hopes that a vaccine that it is developing could stop people infecting each other following successful trials in monkeys;
- At least 22 people were arrested as anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police at rallies in Bournemouth, London and Liverpool;
- Mr Johnson enjoyed a boost in the opinion polls, with the Tories on 41 per cent and Labour down to 38 per cent, according to Optimum; lIt was reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will this week unveil a £3 billion plan to tackle the backlog of surgeries cancelled as a result of the pandemic as part of a Spending Review that will also aim to boost mental health support and revitalise the high street;
- Church leaders appealed to the Government to re-open places of worship for Christmas services.
Last Sunday saw the hospital death toll increase by 168, and the Sunday before that, November 8, saw another 161 patients die (pictured: A test in November)
Scotland reported a further 844 Covid cases and seven new deaths, while Wales has seen 808 new cases and 11 deaths.
The figures come as Boris Johnson is set to outline a return to the three-level system but with more areas potentially placed into the top Tier 3 than before the November lockdown, ahead of a planned relaxation at Christmas.
Mr Johnson is also planning to relax the much-criticised 10pm pub curfew, easing restrictions to allow drinking holes to call last orders at 10pm and give punters an hour to drink up and finish meals.
But Mr Johnson’s plans, which have to be approved in a Commons vote to become law, are facing strident opposition from a hardcore block of his own party, who argue that the restrictions cause more damage than they prevent.
MPs in the Covid Recovery Group wrote to the Prime Minister last night demanding he give Parliament a full ‘cost-benefit analysis’ of the new system amid concerns over the ongoing effect on the economy and also people with existing long-term health problems.
In the letter to the PM, the group led by former chief whip Mark Harper and High Wycombe MP Steve Baker, said: ‘There is no doubt that Covid is a deadly disease to many and it is vital that we control its spread effectively. But we must give equal regard to other lethal killers like cancer, dementia and heart disease, to people’s mental health, and all the health implications of poverty and falling GDP.
The Prime Minister will set out tomorrow a return to the three-level system but with more areas potentially placed into the top Tier 3 than before the November lockdown, ahead of a planned relaxation at Christmas
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove had talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (above) and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday, the Cabinet Office revealed this afternoon
‘The tiered restrictions approach in principle attempts to link virus prevalence with measures to tackle it, but it’s vital we remember always that even the tiered system of restrictions infringes deeply upon people’s lives with huge health and economic costs…
‘We cannot support this approach further unless the Government demonstrates the restrictions proposed for after December 3 will have an impact on slowing the transmission of Covid, and will save more lives than they cost.’