UK records 215 more Covid deaths and 33,364 cases in last 24 hours

21 December 2020, 19:49

The UK has recorded another 33,364 coronavirus cases and 215 deaths
The UK has recorded another 33,364 coronavirus cases and 215 deaths. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The UK has recorded another 33,364 coronavirus cases and 215 deaths as the new variant of the virus rapidly spreads from London and the South East to the rest of the UK.

The Government said that, as of 9am on Friday, the new figures take the country's total cases to over two million with 2,073,511 positive tests since March.

It comes as a cases spiral in parts of the South of England due to the new virus strain, with 80% of London's cases now confirmed to be of that particular variant.

Read more: PM says more than 500,000 people in the UK have had first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Read more: Multiple London hospitals suspend non-urgent operations due to coronavirus pressures

The rise in cases has sparked a new wave of Covid-19 patients entering hospitals across Greater London and Kent, leaving many on the brink of using surge capacity and halting ordinary services.

Several NHS trusts in England and Wales have already postponed all non-urgent operations while it tackles the latest wave.

Over 200,000 cases were found in the seven days to today - an increase of 55% on last week.

The rolling weekly number of patients being admitted to hospitals across the UK has also dramatically increased, with the latest available data showing 12,745 admissions in the seven days to December 16.

The number of deaths has also begun to rise each day following a dip in the figures following the lockdown in November.

It comes as chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned that tougher coronavirus measures are likely in the New Year due to the spread of the new strain across the UK.

Read more: Wales' largest hospital ran out of critical care beds across weekend as Covid cases soar

Read more: Vaccine rollout will not be impacted by freight and travel chaos, Grant Shapps pledges

At a Downing Street press conference on Monday afternoon, he said it is likely the variant "will grow across the country" as people travel long distances ahead of Christmas - despite it being against Government guidance.

"[...] measures will need to be increased in some places in due course and not reduced. It is the case that it will spread more," he added.