Richard Spurr 4am - 7am
UK records another 563 coronavirus deaths and 54,940 new cases
10 January 2021, 16:24 | Updated: 10 January 2021, 16:50
The UK has recorded another 563 coronavirus deaths and 54,940 new cases.
It brings the new UK death toll to 81,431.
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 97,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 54,940 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,072,349.
England's chief medical officer (CMO) once again urged people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary in order to prevent further avoidable deaths.
"Hospitals are always busy in winter, but the NHS in some parts of the country is currently facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember," the CMO wrote in the Sunday Times.
"If the virus continues on this trajectory, hospitals will be in real difficulties, and soon.
"Staff-to-patient ratios - already stretched - will become unacceptable even in intensive care."
England has reached a record-high number of people in hospital with coronavirus, with many trusts surpassing the number seen at the peak of the first wave.
It comes as the government announced that regular rapid testing for people without Covid symptoms will be rolled out across England in the next week.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said its expansion of the community testing programme to everyone without Covid-19 is "crucial given that around one in three people" who contract the virus are asymptomatic.
Councils will be encouraged to test people who are unable to work from home during the third national lockdown, which will include police officers, supermarket workers and taxi drivers.
Lateral flow tests that can give results in around half an hour will be central to the rollout, which will be "expanded to cover all 317 local authorities", DHSC said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "With roughly a third of people who have coronavirus not showing symptoms, targeted asymptomatic testing and subsequent isolation is highly effective in breaking chains of transmission."
Rapid, regular testing is led by local authorities who design programmes based on their in-depth knowledge of the local populations, so testing can have the greatest impact.
"We are now expanding this offer to every local authority across the country, and asking testing to be targeted on workers who cannot work from home during this national lockdown, while asking employers to work with us to scale up workforce testing."
Lateral flow tests have already been hugely successful in finding positive cases quickly - and every positive case found is helping to stop the spread - so I encourage employers and workers to take this offer up. We must all do all we can to stop the spread of Covid, right now."