UK coronavirus death toll jumps 397 - highest in five months

3 November 2020, 20:20 | Updated: 3 November 2020, 22:16

The UK's coronavirus deaths have jumped again
The UK's coronavirus deaths have jumped again. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 397, the biggest jump in more than five months.

The latest fatalities within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test bring the UK's official total to 47,250.

It is the highest daily toll since 27 May, when 422 deaths were logged.

A further 20,018 cases had been reported as of Tuesday, another fall on recent days.

However, it is a marked rise on Monday when 136 deaths and 18,950 cases were recorded. The figures are usually lower at and immediately after weekends.

The latest rises come amid hope the UK's new fight with the virus may be shrinking, with the R number - the rate of reproduction - having "fallen to 1", according to scientists at King's College London. It needs to be this value or lower to stop rapid spread.

England is set to enter its second national lockdown on Thursday, despite an Oxford scientists criticising the UK Government's scientific advisers for using "incorrect and misleading" graphs to justify shutting hospitality, leisure, entertainment and retail once more.

But the number of weekly deaths involving coronavirus has jumped by nearly 50 per cent in a week to reach the highest level since early June, official statistics show.

A total of 978 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending October 23 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the highest number of deaths involving Covid-19 since the week ending 12 June, and is up from 670 deaths in the week to 16 October - a jump of 46%.

Challenged on the new lockdown by MPs on Tuesday, the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, insisted the tiered system of lockdown restrictions would see deaths reach those in the first wave by mid-December without stricter measures.