Coronavirus: Four charts that explain the UK’s lockdown crisis

Number of new Covid-19 infections now significantly higher than the peak in April

04/01/2021. London, United Kingdom. Boris Johnson addressing the Nation. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the Nation from inside No10 Downing Street, on the new Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street
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Boris Johnson on Monday ordered England into its third lockdown as the number of new cases continued to spiral.

In an address last night, the Prime Minister told people to stay at home as he warned the UK's health system could be overwhelmed by an influx of new patients.

The rapid spread of infections has been blamed on the emergence of a highly transmissible Covid-19 variant detected in the south of England last month.

Here, our charts explain how Britain has reached crisis point yet again.

Number of patients in hospital

Latest official figures from the Department of Health reveal there were 23,823 patients being treated in NHS hospitals across Britain on December 28.

That number has grown rapidly in recent days, resulting in the cancellation of operations and vital services for other patients.

Last night, the PM revealed the number of Covid-19 patients in England was more than 40 per cent higher than the peak in April.

New admissions

Government data from December showed that more than 2,500 people were being admitted to hospital every day.

NHS England data released last night show the influx could now be nearing 2,700 a day, illustrating the strain on the health system.

New infections

The UK's testing capacity has grown rapidly since the start of the pandemic, with more than 400,000 tests administered daily.

After a decline in November, the number of new positive cases increased sharply in December following the discovery of the significantly more transmissible form of the virus.

On Monday, a record 58,784 people were reported to have been infected with Covid-19.


The death toll has remained below peak pandemic levels but has risen steeply in recent weeks after a lull in summer.

On Monday, the Department of Health said 407 people had died after testing positive for Covid-19 in the past 28 days. This contrasts with just three reported deaths on September 1.

The UK’s death toll on Tuesday was 75,431, making it Europe’s second worst-affected country behind Italy.