UK records 1,325 Covid deaths in highest-ever daily figure

8 January 2021, 16:13 | Updated: 8 January 2021, 17:20

The death toll from Covid-19 has continues to rise
The death toll from Covid-19 has continues to rise. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Another 1,325 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died in the UK - the highest daily figure yet - taking the total death toll to 79,833.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 68,053 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,957,472.

The 68,053 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus is the highest figure reported by the Government in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic, although daily cases may have been higher in April 2020 when mass testing was not taking place.

The figures continue to be affected by a lag in the publication of recent data and will contain some deaths that took place over the Christmas and New Year period that have only just been reported.

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 95,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

It was also confirmed today that the coronavirus R number in the UK could now be as high as 1.4, according to the Government’s scientific advisers.

It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" in the capital due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 that is threatening to overwhelm hospitals.

Speaking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty, the mayor listed the stark and troubling problems facing the city as its coronavirus outbreak spirals "out of control".

In some parts of the capital, Covid-19 infection rates are so high that one in 20 people have the virus, while London's average rate is one in 30, Mr Khan said.

The mayor revealed that the London Ambulance Service (LAS) is now receiving between 3,000 and 4,000 more calls every day than it would on a normal busy day.

He also confirmed the city's Nightingale hospital will be opened in the "coming days", but he said it will not be used for Covid patients.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing London branch said the situation in the capital was "dire".

The spokesman said: "Today's announcement is needed to protect London's health and care system, and hopefully, it will alleviate some of the enormous pressure nursing staff are under.

"Nursing staff across the capital are now beyond breaking point and they are running on empty. Yet, they are continuing to lead the charge in the battle with Covid-19.

"It's vital for all Londoners to practise social distancing, wear face coverings, and stay at home. Don't let the sacrifice of nursing staff be in vain."

Earlier this week, London paramedics warned they were "fighting a war" with the virus, and the service is receiving thousands of extra calls every day as the pandemic rumbles on.

A majority of acute trusts in London - 14 out of 23 - are currently recording patient levels higher than at the peak of the first wave.