UK reports 1,564 Covid-19 deaths, its highest daily figure

Soaring daily death toll breaks record set last week

Britain has again hit a record for the number of people dying from coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the UK reported 1,564 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test from Covid-19, a record daily toll.
The reported number of deaths exceeds the 1,325 figure set on January 8, with the number of deaths and cases soaring as Britain battles a fast-spreading variant of the virus.

There were another 47,525 cases confirmed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the UK has given 2.64 million people a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine so far, government statistics showed on Wednesday.

The government is aiming to have made initial doses available to 15 million high-risk people by mid-February.

"With each passing day, more and more people are tragically losing their lives to this terrible virus, and today we have reported the highest number of deaths on a single day since the pandemic began," Yvonne Doyle, the medical director for Public Health England, said on Twitter.

"There have now been more deaths in the second wave than the first."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament that, although it was "early days", the latest round of lockdown measures and the regional tiered restrictions that preceded them were "starting to show signs of some effect".

The government said it would start to get tough with people flouting stay-at-home restrictions.

Some of the major supermarkets said they would be stricter on people not wearing masks, while Borough Market, a major attraction by the River Thames in London, has become the first outdoor venue to insist on masks.

Mr Johnson said the strain on the National Health Service was "colossal".

Hospital patients are being discharged early to hotels and their own homes to clear beds for coronavirus sufferers under emergency plans to prevent the collapse of the NHS.

Health chiefs also plan to ask care homes to start accepting Covid-19 patients, as long as they have been in isolation for two weeks and show no symptoms of the illness.

Patients discharged from hospital will be overseen by volunteer organisations such as St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, as well as the British Army and any available NHS staff.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said patients would be discharged early to a home or hotel only “if it’s clinically the right thing”.

Authorities are concerned the country’s hospitals have yet to witness the peak of the winter wave, with more than 35,000 coronavirus patients currently admitted.