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UK records over 50,000 new Covid-19 cases for sixth consecutive day
3 January 2021, 15:26 | Updated: 3 January 2021, 16:13
The UK has recorded over 50,000 new Covid cases for the sixth day in a row, as 54,990 new cases and a further 454 deaths were reported.
The increase in the death toll brings the total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in the UK to 75,024.
It follows a record high of 57,725 cases reported on Saturday, although that number included the totals across 48 hours for Wales and Northern Ireland.
The latest figures come as the government faces increasing pressure to declare a national lockdown and close more schools.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to declare a national lockdown across England "within the next 24 hours".
"The national restrictions need to come in in the next 24 hours. Let's not have the prime minister saying 'I'm going to do it, but not yet'," Mr Starmer added.
"That is the problem he has made so many times."
The calls from Labour come after Boris Johnson hinted this morning at tighter regional measures across the country, but refused to put a date on when that could come into force.
Earlier on Sunday, the leaders of Liverpool, which is currently in Tier 3, called for a national lockdown to prevent "catastrophe".
Speaking to LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday, the city's acting mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon said the council felt that "if things are left it’s inevitable there will be a lockdown at some point, and what we’re trying to do is actually react now rather than at crisis point."
Local councils are also rebelling over plans for most primary schools in England to open tomorrow.
The leader of Birmingham City Council has accused the government of "dithering" over school closures, as he told LBC primary schools should stay shut if the city is to avoid the pressures London's hospitals are facing.
Birmingham council leader Ian Ward said the government should trust headteachers to make their own decision on the safety of opening schools.
The comments come after Brighton and Hove City Council, on Saturday evening, advised primary schools to remain closed.
There are concerns from some public health experts that without closing schools it will be difficult to get the R rate below 1, due to the new, more infectious, variant of Covid-19.
The latest figures reveal number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in England increased by 1,023 from the New Years Day to 2 January, bringing the total to 23,557.
From Christmas Day to 2 January, the number of hospital beds in England occupied by confirmed coronavirus patients climbed by 33%.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told Sky News this increase was the equivalent of "12 extra full hospitals, full of Covid patients" in just eight days.
"So you can imagine why people in the NHS are worried about how quickly this virus is spreading," he added.