UK records 28,507 coronavirus cases and 489 deaths

18 December 2020, 21:04

Hosptialisations are climbing across the UK as cases increase
Hosptialisations are climbing across the UK as cases increase. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The UK has recorded another 28,507 coronavirus cases and 489 deaths as many hospitals struggle to cope with rising admissions.

The Government said that, as of 9am on Friday, the country's total was approaching two million cases with 1,977,167 recorded since March.

It comes as figures published the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) estimate the figure to be between 1.1 and 1.2.

Read more: Boris Johnson 'hopes to avoid' third lockdown but doesn't rule it out

Read more: UK coronavirus R number rises to between 1.1 and 1.2

Last week, the R number was between 0.9 and 1.

The increase means the number of new infections is growing by between 1% and 4% every day.

Meanwhile NHS hospitals across the South and East of England have postponed all non-urgent operations while it tackles a surge in the number of Covid-19 patients.

Boris Johnson 'hopes to avoid' third lockdown but doesn't rule it out

Several hospitals in Kent announced the measure on Friday evening, saying only "urgent treatments, including cancer operations" will go ahead as normal.

An NHS spokeswoman said: "We are working hard to ensure we treat as many patients as possible, while ensuring we provide a safe hospital environment. However, the increase in numbers has meant difficult decisions to prioritise cases of higher urgency.

Read more: Met Police urge public to 'act sensibly and do their part' on weekend before Christmas

Read more: Online calculator estimates how soon you're likely to get the coronavirus vaccine

"Any patients affected by the decision will be contacted, if patients are not contacted they should continue to attend their hospital appointments as normal."

There is mounting pressure on the Government to announce a third national lockdown after Christmas to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed in January.

Experts advising ministers have suggested a third national lockdown may need to be more stringent than the second.

Professor Neil Ferguson: "The concern I have right now is that ... (in) the East of England, for instance, case numbers were rising during the last lockdown, so there may be a need for additional controls beyond even what were in place then."

Impact of Covid-19 is "not a debate," says frontline worker

Adding to the calls was Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has called on Boris Johnson to set out his plan for averting a new lockdown.

At the party's headquarters in London, Sir Keir told reporters: "Nobody wants a third lockdown. It's hugely damaging on health grounds and also for the economy.

"We can see that the tiered system is not working in the way the Prime Minister promised. More people are going into the higher tiers, so it's not strong enough.

"Whether the Prime Minister rules it out or not is not the central question.

Read more: Frontline NHS worker's harrowing tale of life with Long-Covid

Read more: Covid-19 crisis in numbers: LBC brings you the stats you need to know

"I think the central question, Prime Minister, is what are you doing now to prevent the chances of a third lockdown?"

Sir Keir Starmer has said that limiting Christmas to mixing only between two households would be a "step in the right direction".

The Labour leader told reporters: "He's got to toughen up over Christmas, he's got to show some leadership.

"Easing the restrictions I think is going to be the next big mistake for the Prime Minister."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rust incident

Production manager testifies about Alec Baldwin shooting in 2021 Rust rehearsal

Playwright Jeremy O’Harris has defended the 'black only' nights

‘Black people have been told they don’t belong at the theatre’: Playwright defends ‘black-only’ nights at West End show

Christian Horner has been cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Geri Halliwell 'relieved and elated' after F1 boss husband Christian Horner is cleared after Red Bull investigation

Dame Esther said she was "disappointed" at no clear call for a vote on assisted dying

‘The law is a mess’: Dame Esther Rantzen issues fresh call for free vote on assisted dying

Canada Gaza Strip Aid

Canada says it is working to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible

Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles.

Westlife star Mark Feehily reveals he’s standing down from the band just days before US tour leaving fans devastated

The Duke of Sussex took legal action against the Home Office over a decision in 2020 to change the level of his personal security

Prince Harry faces £1m bill after losing High Court challenge over taxpayer funded police protection

Rishi Sunak has warned 'mob rule' is threatening to 'replace democratic rule'.

End descent into ‘mob rule’ and shut down intimidating protests, Rishi Sunak tells police amid threats to MPs


President Joe Biden declared ‘fit for duty’ after annual medical test

Thomas Kingston died aged 45.

Lady Gabriella Windsor's husband Thomas Kingston 'died at his parents' £3m country mansion'


Supreme Court to rule if Trump can be prosecuted in election interference case

Richard Lewis has died aged 76.

Curb Your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis dies aged 76 after suffering heart attack

Obit Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis, humorously morose star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, dies aged 76

Robert Brown's lost his bid for parole.

BA pilot Robert Brown who bludgeoned wife to death with claw hammer loses bid for early prison release

Film Oscars-Guide

Everything you need to know about this year’s Oscars ceremony

It is understood that RedBird IMI is offering to help pay the £1.16 billion in debts that the current owners, the Barclay family, owe to Lloyds Bank.

Foreign governments must be banned from owning British newspapers, says former Tory cabinet minister