UK records 1,348 coronavirus deaths as total fatalities from the disease nears 100,000
Post Desk : Total fatalities from coronavirus in the UK are nearing 100,000 as a further 1,348 deaths were reported by the Government on Saturday.
It brings the total UK death toll to 97,329.
The latest Government data also showed a daily rise of 33,552 cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 3,617,459.
It comes as concerns have been raised about new data that suggests the UK coronavirus variant detected in Kent is linked to higher mortality.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on Friday: “I must tell you that we have been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it appears that there is some evidence that the new variant that was first identified in London and the South East may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”
But Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said on Saturday that more work was needed to establish whether the variant was more deadly.
“There is some evidence, but it is very early evidence. It is small numbers of cases and it is far too early to say this will actually happen,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today on Saturday.
The Prime Minister said that the news that the new variant could be more lethal, means it is “more important than ever that we all follow the rules and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.
He told Friday’s briefing that deaths will remain high for at least “a little while to come”.
Ministers are set to discuss on Monday plans for a further tightening of travel restrictions amid reports that people arriving in the country could be required to quarantine in hotels.
Britain’s current restrictions ban most international travel while new rules introduced earlier in January require a negative coronavirus test before departure for most people arriving, as well as a period of quarantine.
The government is considering making it mandatory for travellers to spend that 10-day quarantine period in a hotel for which they would have to pay, as a way to enforce the quarantine rules, the BBC said on Saturday.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called on the Government to “get a grip” of the situation at the border after pictures emerged on social media of tightly packed queues at Heathrow Airport on Friday.
Meanwhile Scotland recorded a further 76 deaths from coronavirus and 1,307 more positive cases in the past 24 hours.
It brings the total number of deaths recorded under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 5,704.
Public Health Wales reported on Saturday a further 1,079 cases of coronavirus in Wales, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 186,915.
The agency also recorded another 27 deaths, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 4,486.
Coronavirus deaths rose by 12 in Northern Ireland.
A further 670 positive cases of the virus were also confirmed on Saturday by the Department of Health.
There are 810 people in hospital with the disease including 66 who are in intensive care units.