UK records highest daily Covid deaths since deadly pandemic began

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The UK has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began.

A further 1,564 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test were reported on Wednesday.

It takes the grim death toll to 84,767 as Britain battles a second wave of the deadly virus.

Figures show a further 47,525 cases were also recorded, taking the UK's total to 3,211,576.

The previous highest daily toll was 1,325 deaths, which was reported last Friday.

The latest figures come as the Prime Minister warned there was a "very substantial" risk of intensive care units (ICU) in NHS hospitals being overwhelmed.

Boris Johnson told MPs: "If you ask me when do we think that the ICU capacity is likely to be overtopped, I can't give you a prediction for that.

"But all I can say is that the risk is very substantial and we have to keep the pressure off the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown."

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He told the Commons Liaison Committee that "the situation is very, very tough indeed in the NHS" and "the strain is colossal" on staff.

Meanwhile, provisional NHS England data shows a total of 2,661,850 vaccines have been given in England between December 8 and January 12, including first and second doses.

The Prime Minister pledged on Wednesday that 24/7 jabs will be given "as soon as we can".

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A network of 233 hospitals, 1,000 GP surgeries, 50 mass vaccination centres and 200 pharmacies is already working "exceptionally fast", he said.

But at the moment the limit is on supply, he added.

Asda announced on Wednesday it is set to become the first UK supermarket to offer Covid vaccinations in its stores.

The jabs will be given by trained Asda pharmacy staff in a new 12-hour vaccination centre.

But it comes amid warnings the country’s third national lockdown could get even stricter.

Downing Street is said to be considering introducing further measures in England as fears grow about compliance.

This could reportedly include banning two different households exercising together outdoors, getting rid of click-and-collect shopping and shutting down businesses like food markets or estate agents.

Elsewhere, outdoor drinking has been banned in much of Scotland.

Pressure is now growing for similar measures in the rest of the UK.

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