THE number of daily UK coronavirus cases is today up 25 per cent on last Friday's figure as 53,285 more infections were recorded.
Another 613 more people have died from the bug in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in Britain to 74,125.
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Last Friday, 39,877 new Covid cases were recorded, along with 585 deaths.
It means today's infection increase is 25 per cent greater than it was last week – and the second highest daily rise ever.
Today's rise in cases is only slightly smaller than it was yesterday, when a record high of 55,892 infections were logged.
The increase in deaths today is also smaller than it was yesterday (964) but remains bigger than last Friday's jump.
The number of Covid infections has been surging all week, with the daily figure exceeding 50,000 for the first time on Tuesday.
More than 50,000 infections have been recorded everyday since, bringing the total number of positive test results in the UK to 2,542,065 today.
It comes as…
- London hospital boss warns it’s on brink of treating ONLY Covid patients as other says it’s in ‘disaster mode’
- COVID CRISIS ‘We can’t administer oxygen, we’re treating patients in ambulances & seeing them die – NHS staff are at breaking point’
- Top cop slams selfish New Year’s Eve revellers who ‘decided partying was more important than protecting lives’
- Eerie pics show deserted New Year’s Eve London streets 12 months on from packed fireworks show
- Covid-hit dad, 40, tells fiancée ‘don’t put me to sleep, I won’t wake up’ in heartbreaking final FaceTime call
In England, another 420 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours – with one patient just eight years old.
It brings the total number of Covid deaths in English hospitals to 50,668.
The patients were aged between eight and 100 years old and all except 12 had underlying health conditions.
In Scotland, 2,539 new infections were recorded and the country will next update its death toll on January 5.
Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to update their figures after the weekend.
It comes as the UK enters 2021 under a host of restrictions, with almost all of England now living under Tier 3 and 4 restrictions.
Traditional New Year celebrations were scrapped last night, and the majority of streets lay eerily quiet.
NEW YEAR, NEW TIERS
But while millions stayed home to stop the spread of the deadly bug, hundreds joined illegal parties in Birmingham, Essex, Manchester and London.
London alone saw cops called out to 58 unlicenced music events – fining 217 people along with five others reported for possible £10,000 fines.
And one top cop slammed revellers who "decided partying was more important than protecting other people".
In one New Year's Eve bash in Sewardstonebury, Essex, more than 100 revellers were filmed drinking and partying – with a flame thrower even seen spinning a baton on fire during the Covid-breaking celebrations.
Essex Police confirmed in their district alone more than £18,000 fines were handed out to flouters – with revellers even pelting cops with objects as one party at a church in Thorndon Park was broken up.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson insisted the return to normal life is "not far off" as he dished out a hopeful New Year message this morning.
The Prime Minister said an "illuminated pub sign" waits in the distance and urged Brits to have patience and discipline in the months ahead.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: "In the distance and through the darkness we can see the brightly illuminated pub sign of our destination – the normal convivial life that we have been forced to leave behind and that is so vital for our economy.
"We are not there yet, but we are not far off; and most importantly, we can see with ever-growing clarity how we are going to get there."
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