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UK records highest daily death toll of entire COVID pandemic
A further 1,325 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Friday – the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. The number brings the government's official death toll to 79,833. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies counting deaths where COVID-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate show there have now been 95,000 deaths involving the virus in the UK.
Cases continue to soar
As of 9am on Friday, a further 68,053 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK. The figure is the highest reported by the government in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. However, daily cases may have been higher in April 2020 when mass testing was not taking place.
More than half of all major hospital trusts in England currently have more COVID-19 patients than at the peak of the first wave of the virus. In two regions – eastern England and south-east England – more than three-quarters of trusts are above their first-wave peak. Other trusts have seen their numbers rise so rapidly that they could pass their first-wave peak within days.
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Major new TV campaign to warn public to stay at home (Independent)
—The big coronavirus stories today—
Third COVID vaccine approved in the UK
A third coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, but doses will not be available until the spring. The jab from US biotech firm Moderna has been given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), joining the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca. Read the full story here. (Sky News)
Travellers to UK need to test negative
New plans requiring international travellers to test negative for coronavirus before arriving to England and Scotland have been revealed. Arrivals, including UK nationals, will need to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure. Failure to comply will lead to an immediate £500 fine. Read the full story here (The Independent)
COVID 'out of control in London'
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” as the spread of coronavirus threatens to “overwhelm” the capital’s hospitals. COVID-19 cases in London have exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while there are 35% more people in hospital with the virus than at the peak of the pandemic in April. Read the full story here (PA)
Number of pupils in school surges
Primary schools in England have reported a significant increase in the number of pupils still attending during the latest lockdown. Scientific advice group Independent Sage has said the higher numbers "undermines the whole point of school closures". Read the full story here (Guardian)
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— What else happened today? —
Policeman dies after pro-Trump riot
A US Capitol police officer has died after the siege of the legislative building by supporters of Donald Trump. Brian Sicknick died of his injuries, bringing the death toll from the riot to five. The breach of the building took place to disrupt the certification of the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Read the full story here (Telegraph)
Poundland to close dozens of high street stores
Poundland is to shut 44 of its stores temporarily from this weekend due to the third lockdown in England. The discount retailer said it will place a raft of its stores into “hibernation” from Saturday. It said the vast majority of its more than 800 stores will remain open due its status as an essential retailer. Read the full story here (Yahoo Finance UK)
Five police officers sacked over conduct
Five out of six members of a “toxic” specialist police unit have been sacked for their “shameful” discriminatory language. The officers from the Serious Organised Crime Unit (Socu) in Basingstoke, Hampshire, were recorded making racist, sexist, ableist and other inappropriate comments. Read the full story here (PA)
Dame Barbara funeral held with 'Peggy' tribute
Dame Barbara Windsor has been laid to rest with flowers spelling out Babs, The Dame and Saucy adorning her coffin. Her husband Scott Mitchell, who was married to Dame Barbara for 20 years, was joined by famous friends including Ross Kemp, Christopher Biggins, David Walliams and Matt Lucas at a private funeral at Golders Green Crematorium in London. Read the full story here (Evening Standard)