CORONAVIRUS cases have dropped by 15 per cent in the past week after 30,501 new infections were recorded in the past 24 hours.
A further 316 people have died from Covid-19 bringing the grim tally to 70,752.
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Last Sunday, 35,928 people tested positive for coronavirus – over 5,000 more than today.
The rise was among the highest ever recorded in the UK, with the past week seeing some of the biggest jumps in cases since the start of the pandemic.
Today's rise in infections is also smaller than it was yesterday, when 34,693 new infections were logged.
The rise in deaths recorded today, however, is bigger than it was yesterday, when 210 more fatalities were confirmed.
Today's figures don't include the death toll or cases from Northern Ireland or Scotland.
This means the true death toll will likely jump on December 29 when the figures are updated as Scotland and Northern Ireland are not reporting them over the Christmas period.
Overall, a total of 2,288,345 have now tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
In England, a further 231 people aged between 30 and 85 died in hospital over the last 24 hours – all but five had underlying health conditions.
London saw the most deaths with 55 fatalities occurring in the capital.
A further 70 deaths and 4,142 infections have been recorded in the Wales in the past 24 hours.
It comes as:
- The UK could be free of lockdowns by February if 15million vulnerable get vaccine first
- Experts say one dose of Pfizer jab gives '91% protection'
- The new Oxford jab expected to get approval as early as Monday
- Millions more Brits set to be put into Tier 4 Covid lockdown this week as mutant strain sweeps country
The most recent data from the Department of Health shows there were 21,286 patients in hospital for the killer bug on December 22.
The most up-to-date seven-day hospital admission average is 1,984 and if that current trend continues then it will pass the peak for patients that were in hospital beds in the spring.
Hospital admissions are currently at a higher figure than the week before the second lockdown – where there was a seven-day average of 1,191.
The number of patients that were admitted to hospital on December 20 is 2,143, according to the latest figures.
In April, there was a single day admission of 3,569 of patients.
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson refused to rule out a third lockdown after Christmas.
The PM warned tougher restrictions could be needed to keep a mutant coronavirus strain “running out of control” in the New Year.
The rapid spread of the new variant, believed to be up to 70 per cent more contagious, saw millions of Brits in London and the South East of England plunged into a Tier 4 lockdown just before Christmas.
Further areas were thrown into Tier 4 on Boxing Day amid fears the new strain has already spread across the country.
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