Coronavirus deaths rise by 194 bringing total to 49,063 as cases increase by 21,350 – continuing to rise week on week

CORONAVIRUS deaths have today risen by 194 in the UK  – as cases increased by 21,350.

The rise in infections brings the total number of infections in Britain to 1,213,363 – as Boris Johnson announced the UK had enough doses of the new Pfizer vaccine for a third of the population.

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Today's rise in cases is higher than last Monday it was last Monday, when18,950 more positive tests were recorded.

It is also higher than the Monday before that (20,890).

Today's rise in deaths is bigger than it was last week, when 135 fatalities were logged.

It is also almost double the figure recorded a fortnight ago (102), bringing the UK's overall Covid death toll to 49,063.

It comes as:

  • Boris Johnson addressed the nation on the latest Covid developments this evening.
  • The first coronavirus vaccine is 90 per cent effective and the UK will have 10 million doses by Christmas.
  • A government scientist today claimed that the vaccine, made by Pfizer, means that "life will return to normal by Spring".
  • Furious Tories demanded an early end to a second lockdown as a minister claimed Boris Johnson had been "bounced" into new rules.
  • Wales' 17-day 'fire-breaker' lockdown came to an end, as shops and pubs reopened.
  • Travel quarantine is set to be slashed in half at the end of England's lockdown, according to transport secretary Grant Shapps.

A further 167 deaths were reported in English hospitals, bringing the total to 34,663.

Of those, 12 occurred in the east of England, eight in London, 45 in the midlands, 47 in the north east and Yorkshire, 36 in the north west, 15 in the south east, and four in the south west. 

Meanwhile, Scotland recorded one death from coronavirus and 912 positive tests in the past 24 hours.

The daily test positivity rate – the ratio of tests which return a positive tests- stands at 9.1% which is up from 7.3% yesterday.

And in Wales, which has just come out of a 17-day 'fire-breaker' lockdown, cases rose by 931 – with the total number of infections now exceeding 60,000.

Fatalities rose by eight, bringing the total to 2,041.

Mr Drakeford today thanked the Welsh people for their “hard work and sacrifice” during the lockdown – as the infection rate in the country dropped from 250 cases per 100,000 to 220.

But he insisted that it would take longer to see a dramatic decrease in cases following the lockdown – and strict rules on travel and working from home remain in place.

It comes as the nation was given a huge boost in the fight against the pandemic as the first Covid vaccine proved to be 90 per cent effective.

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says findings from its major clinical trial found nine out of 10 people who had the jab were protected from Covid-19.

They plan to apply to the US regulator the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.

Downing Street hailed the results as "promising" and said the UK will have 10 million doses ready by the end of the year, if approved by regulators.

Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University, said the development means "life will return to normal by Spring".

About 12 Covid-19 vaccines around the world are currently in the final stages of testing, but Pfizer's is the first to report any results.

The news comes as a huge boost to Boris Johnson, who will address the nation at 5pm.

The PM has come under increasing pressure from Tory lockdown rebels, who claim Downing Street was "bounced" into a national shutdown based on a dodgy doomsday forecast of 4,000 fatalities a day.

Experts believe the localised 'Tier' approach was beginning to work, as on the day England entered the strict lockdown coronavirus cases in 19 out of London's 32 boroughs had fallen.

Data from Public Health England revealed that Covid-19 infections fell across England in the week before the shutdown.

Cases reportedly dropped in 82 of the 149 local authorities nationwide.

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