UK records another 696 Covid-19 deaths - highest since start of May

25 November 2020, 17:51 | Updated: 26 November 2020, 05:38

The latest deaths come as England is set to enter tiers before Christmas
The latest deaths come as England is set to enter tiers before Christmas. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Another 696 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in the UK, the Government has said - the highest daily total since the start of May.

A further 18,213 cases were recorded over the past 24 hours - a drop on recent weeks.

The latest fatalities bring the UK's official coronavirus death toll to 56,533.

It is the second six-month high in as many days, as 608 Covid-linked deaths were recorded on Tuesday.

A total of 1,557,007 cases have now been logged in the UK, including 126,666 over the past seven days, Government data shows.

This seven-day figure has sharply declined 27 per cent - 46,950 cases - on the previous seven days to 18 November. The UK-wide seven-day rolling average of cases is also falling.

Scientists have cautioned that a lag may mean the effect of lockdown restrictions may take several weeks to be reflected in the data.

It comes as millions across England prepare to find out which of the new tough tiers they will enter from next week when the country exits its second national lockdown.

In tiers two and three of the new system, set to come into force from 2 December, the hospitality sector faces further closures - with industry leaders warning they will "inflict unnecessary pain and irreversible damage" for businesses.

But the UK's four nations have agreed on a five-day relaxation of restrictions over the festive period, allowing up to three households to form a "Christmas bubble" between 23 and 27 December.

A member of the Government's Sage scientific advisory group warned the five-day reprieve over Christmas would be "throwing fuel on the Covid fire".