Daily coronavirus deaths more than double in fortnight rising by nearly 500 for first time since May

UK coronavirus deaths have more than doubled in a fortnight, risingby 492 today in the largest daily increase since May.

Another 25,177 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, the second highest daily increase ever.

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Today's rise in deaths is the highest Britain has seen since May 19, when 500 fatalities were recorded.

It is considerably bigger than last Wednesday's rise, when 310 fatalities were recorded.

The jump is also more than double the rise recorded two weeks ago (191).

Coronavirus fatalities in the UK now stand at 47,742 and 1,099,059 positive test results have been recorded overall.

It comes as…

  • NHS will move to highest alert level from midnight as it faces serious Covid situation, boss warns
  • Two Covid vaccines ‘could be ready by Christmas’ as NHS ready to ‘fire starting gun’ on roll out
  • Lockdown to be over by Christmas but Tier system may be toughened, warns Chris Whitty
  • Hospital intensive care no busier than normal even without Nightingales raising doubts whether Second Lockdown needed

Another 302 fatalities – including a 13-year-old in Nottinghamshire – were recorded in England, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in English hospitals to 33,637.

The patients, who died between March 30 and November 3, were aged between 13 and 100 years old – and all except 12 had underlying health conditions.

In Wales, 44 new deaths were recorded today, along with 1,202 cases.

It brings the overall Covid death toll in Wales to 1,939 with 55,658 positive test results in total.

In Scotland, 50 fatalities were logged in the last 24 hours along with another 1,433 infections.

It means 2,927 Scots have now died from coronavirus since the start of the outbreak, while 68,444 have tested positive for the bug.

In Northern Ireland, 10 more deaths were confirmed, bringing the overall death toll there to 740, with a total of 40,858 positive test results.

RED ALERT

It comes as the NHS prepares to move to its highest alert level from midnight as Covid poses an "existential threat".

Boris Johnson has warned people could be "turned away" from hospitals if the health service is over-run with coronavirus cases.

And the PM's fears were echoed by NHS chief exec Sir Simon Stevens earlier today, when he told journalists that the NHS is facing a "serious situation" over the coming winter months.

Sir Simon warned that across England, hospitals are filling up with "desperately sick" Covid patients – adding that we are close to seeing a situation worse than the first peak.

Speaking this morning at an NHS England and NHS Improvement press conference, he revealed that the level would be moved from three to four – the highest alert level.

Level 4 is an incident that requires NHS England and National Command and Control to support the NHS response. It requires the NHS to coordinate its response in collaboration with local commissioners.

Sir Simon said: "The level had to be that at the end of January and at the back end of June.

"It's not a situation anyone wants to be in", he added.

The NHS chief gave a glimmer of hope, however, when he confirmed the health service is "ready to fire the starting gun" on rolling out potential Covid vaccine doses "as and when it's needed".

His comments came after it was revealed two coronavirus vaccines could be ready by Christmas.

Head of the UK's jab taskforce Kate Bingham told MPs she hopes we will see efficacy results for the Oxford vaccine and Pfizer's jab within weeks.

Sir Simon said vaccines will be delivered at GP surgeries, pharmacies and mass testing centres – including at the Nightingale Hospitals.

He also confirmed GPs will be on standby but said any mass vaccine programme was likely to start in the New Year – pending positive trial results.

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