Iain Dale 10am - 1pm
UK records another 529 Covid-19 deaths
18 November 2020, 16:36 | Updated: 18 November 2020, 17:09
Another 529 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the UK, taking the total to 53,274, along with a further 19,609 positive cases.
Both figures are slightly lower than yesterday, with the number of new reported deaths falling by 69 and infections by 442.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 68,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 19,609 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,430,341.
Hull continues to have the highest rate in England, with 1,952 new cases recorded in the seven days to November 14 - the equivalent of 751.4 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up slightly on 744.9 in the seven days to November 7.
Swale in Kent has the second highest rate, up sharply from 304.5 to 618.3, with 928 new cases.
Hartlepool is in third place, where the rate has risen from 418.5 to 590.4, with 553 new cases.
Swale had the biggest week-on-week jump in rates, followed by Boston (up from 246.5 to 478.8, with 336 new cases); East Lindsey (up from 360.6 to 567.3, with 804 new cases); and Thanet (up from 324.1 to 510.8, with 725 new cases).
It comes amid the news that the Government is keen to have a Christmas “as close to normal as possible” but it could mean tougher restrictions are needed either side of the holiday.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the medical adviser to the Government's Covid-19 response, suggested that "for every day that we release (measures) we will need two days of tighter restrictions".
She said ministers are working on what the "new tiers" will be after the anticipated easing date for lockdown and on a plan for Christmas.
Dr Hopkins told a Downing Street briefing: "We are very keen that we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible.
"That requires all of us to make every effort over this national restriction period and even in early December to get the cases as low as possible and to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families.
"A final decision will rest with the Government and we look forward to hearing what those plans are."
She added: "So, coming into Christmas we need to be very careful about the number of contacts that we have, to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible.
"Hopefully the Government will make the decision that will allow us to have some mixing, but we will wait and see what that is.
"Then, I think, once we have got past the Christmas period if there has been a release and some socialisation we will all have to be very responsible and reduce those contacts again."