Coronavirus cases increase by 45% in a week with 34,693 new infections as deaths rise by 210

CORONAVIRUS cases have increased by 45% in a week with 34,693 new infections recorded today across the UK and a further 210 deaths.

A total of 2,256,005 have now tested positive for coronavirus in the UK with a total of 70,405 deaths.

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The figures show a drop in deaths in comparison to yesterday’s numbers and a rise in cases, with 32,725 new coronavirus cases and 570 deaths recorded on Christmas Day. 

But 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.

In England, a further 161 people aged between 44 and 100 died in hospital over the last 24 hours – all but eight had underlying health conditions. 

London saw the most deaths with 44 fatalities occurring in the capital.

Case figures released so far for today show that UK cases have jumped by 45.3 per cent in the past seven days with 27,052 positive cases recorded on Saturday, December 19. 

Deaths have dropped since last week, with 534 daily deaths announced this time last Saturday – but this may change when Scotland and Northern Ireland release their data.

There are currently 2,143 Covid patients in hospitals – showing a rise of 16.5 per cent over the past seven days. 

Today's statistics come as…

  • Millions of Brits will wake up to harsher Tier 4 Covid restrictions today as the government tries to stop the mutant strain spreading 
  • Thousands of lorry drivers will spend Boxing Day in their cabs as more HGVs arrive ‘every hour’ in Dover
  • The ‘out of control’ mutant strain of Covid reached Ireland, France and Japan after being found in Kent
  • Brits are outraged as rapid testing centres shut down for five days across parts of England despite a surge in cases

Millions of Brits were today plunged into Tier 4 of England's coronavirus lockdown system as cases continue to soar across the country. 

Tier 4 in England now covers 43 per cent of the population – 24 million people. 

The areas moving to Tier 4 are Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, parts of Essex not yet in the highest tier, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire – with the exception of the New Forest.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland tougher lockdown rules have been brought in today in an attempt to stem Covid transmissions. 

Scotland has closed its border with England and from placed a level four lockdown on areas across mainland Scotland for three weeks.

A six-week lockdown began in Northern Ireland today in an attempt to drive down virus rates.

Wales went into lockdown on December 19 and has urged people to stay at home and only travel for essential reasons. 

Across the UK's four nations, millions of Brits celebrated a very different Christmas yesterday. 

Small groups were spotted celebrating Christmas lunch outside on Clapham Common in London.

And some Brits were able to see their loved ones in care homes for the first time in months. 

Brits in London and parts of south east England were banned from meeting other households on Christmas Day after Tier 4 restrictions were imposed.

Elsewhere across the country, festive bubbles were restricted to Christmas Day only, with up to three households allowed to meet for socially distanced celebrations. 

And up to 5,000 drivers were forced to spend Christmas Day in lorries after being trapped when France closed its border in response to the new mutant Covid strain.

Today, hundreds of lorry drivers continued to wait in their cabs after almost a week of disruption at the English Channel border.

But despite the mounting cases across the nation, the Queen delivered a heartfelt message of hope to the country in her address yesterday, praising the "indomitable spirit" of those who have risen "magnificently" to the challenges of the pandemic.

The Queen told Brits on Christmas Day, "let hope guide us in unpredictable times" as she thanked frontline Covid workers in her annual speech.

Her Majesty, 94, said "you are not alone" as she acknowledged those who "just wanted a hug" for Christmas but were forced to change their festive plans.

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