CORONAVIRUS deaths in the UK today rose by 519 in the highest Saturday rise in seven months with 21,502 new cases.
The rise in infections now means a total of 1,830,956 people have now tested positive for the disease.
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The latest figures released by the Department of Health puts the total number of people who have died from Covid at 64,026.
Today's rise is the highest on a Saturday since May 2 when 584 died.
It comes as:
- Scientists have warned Brits to rethink their Christmas gatherings despite Covid rules being relaxed
- GPs will prioritise sick and elderly ethnic minority patients for the coronavirus vaccine from next week
- Brits are facing Christmas travel chaos that could spark a mad rush on "bubble" deadline
- Shoppers are set to blow £1.7billion today amid fears London will be placed in Tier 3
- A new Covid vaccine phone scam is targeting vulnerable pensioners
Last Saturday, cases rose by 15,539 and 397 more deaths were reported.
Yesterday, Covid cases dropped to 21,672 after Thursday saw the highest total in three weeks.
In England today, a further 314 people who tested positive for coronavirus died in hospital – bringing the total to 44,126.
The latest victims were aged between 38 and 102 with all but 11 having underlying health conditions.
In Wales, 31 new deaths were reported – with their total now at 2,849.
Scotland has suffered a further 39 deaths – bringing the total to 4,109.
While in Northern Ireland, nine new deaths were reported – with the total now at 1,120.
It comes as London Essex, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire plus Wiltshire and Swindon teeter on the edge of Tier 3.
The areas have seen a surge in Covid cases with any changes due to be announced on Wednesday.
London has now emerged as the coronavirus capital of England with extra cops and Covid marshals being scrambled to police the streets.
Under the toughest Tier 3 restrictions, pubs and hospitality venues would be forced to close and people would no longer be allowed to meet friends in gardens.
The rules on gathering with people from other households would then be relaxed from December 23 for five days to allow families to get together over Christmas, but other restrictions would remain in place.
But scientists have warned Brits to rethink their gatherings and suggested the festive bubbles could lead to a deadly third wave.
Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, earlier this week told the public to be "very, very sensible" and not go "too far" over Christmas, which he called a "very risky period".
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