UK sees another 102 Covid deaths as 20,890 more test positive in just 24 hours – down 18 percent from last week

ANOTHER 20,890 Brits were diagnosed with coronavirus overnight – 18 per cent lower than this time last week.

And 102 more lives were lost across the UK as the country battles a second wave of Covid – 35 per cent lower than last Monday's death toll, 159.

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Today's infection tally is less than Wednesday's biggest ever infection rise of 26,688.

A further 91 people died in hospitals in England.

Patients were aged between 44 and 95, and all had known underlying health conditions.

Most deaths- 29 – happened in hospitals in the north-west, while 24 lost their lives on wards in the north-east and Yorkshire.

In the Midlands, 22 more died, while there were eight fatalities in London, three in both the east and the south-west, and two in the south-east.

In Scotland, where a new five-stage lockdown plan has been revealed, 1,122 new cases were recorded, and one more person died.

And in Wales, which is on the third full day of a national firebreak lockdown, 1,158 people have tested positive overnight – and six more have died with the virus.

Figures for Northern Ireland aren't yet available.

It comes as:

  • Spain declares a second state of emergency that could last until MAY after cases surge
  • Shots of a new Covid vaccine will be delivered to hospitals from next week
  • British holidaymakers jetting off to the Canary Islands have been spared a curfew
  • Boots launches a 12-minute £120 coronavirus test
  • The coronavirus R rate has dropped – but every area of the UK is still above one
  • Beleaguered Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is facing fury over his 17-day firebreak policy on 'essential' goods in supermarkets

And there's bad news for the Government's new policies to tackle the virus after it was revealed the 'rule of six' and the 10pm pub curfew may have "zero effect" on reducing transmission.

A study from the experts at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that these measures may have very little effect.

Meanwhile, middle-class workers across the UK are set for a "job loss crisis" after the furlough scheme ends this week, experts are warning.

It comes as the number of adults on out-of-work benefits has already tripled in the hardest-hit towns and cities.

Across the ten worst-affected areas there are now 138,000 on the dole – 75,000 more than last September, the Centre for Economic and Business Research has found.

And as more regions face moving into stricter tier two or three measures, it's been revealed that the armed forces will be drafted into hardest-hit areas.

The British Army and Navy were deployed in Liverpool on Friday to assist health officers enforcing Covid rules.

The team will help track down clusters of infections, control outbreaks, and enforce Covid rules against businesses breaking the law.

It's understood more officers will be moved in tier three areas – which include Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire – in the coming weeks.

As Brits face tougher lockdowns, the Chancellor has ordered Treasury officials to publish the economic cost of coronavirus alongside daily data on the deadly bug.

Rishi Sunak has called for civil servants to find ways to show Brits the 'other trade-offs' as half of people living in England face strict new lockdowns until tiers two and three.

It's understood Mr Sunak plans to show the public the 'hit on GDP' of taking a region between tiers, or introducing a national 'circuit breaker' lockdown.

It comes as a source close to the top politician said: "The average age for Covid deaths is higher than average life expectancy."

The average age of those who have died from coronavirus in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic is 82.4, analysis by University of Oxford researchers using Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown.

Life expectancy in the UK is 79.4 years for men and 83.1 for women, according to the latest ONS report.

As strict as rules are for millions of people, Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock today refused to deny Britain could face an extra tier four of coronavirus restrictions.

It was reported over the weekend that an extra tier on top of the current tier three measures may be introduced if the new rules fail to bring down infections enough.

When asked about the possibility of a further tier, the PM said: "We are working at the moment through the tier three strategy."

Pubs and other places which don't serve food, along with casinos, indoor soft play and some other businesses are ordered to close in the top level of restrictions.

But if that doesn't work, then more places may be ordered to close down.

It's expected that schools and offices will continue to remain open, despite extra rules.

Under the existing system, Warrington will head into tier three just after midnight tonight – two days earlier than planned.

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