A further 612 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the UK, along with 25,161 confirmed cases.
This is a jump from the 533 deaths and 16,578 cases announced last Wednesday, government data shows.
The cases and deaths by nation are as follows:
- Scotland – 689 cases, 38 deaths
- Northern Ireland – 510 cases, eight deaths
- England – 23,432 cases, 537 deaths
- Wales – 530 cases, 29 deaths
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‘Shorter and smaller Christmas is safer Christmas’
As the figures continue to rise, there have been fears that Christmas celebrations could set off another jump in cases.
After facing political pressure from doctors and Labour, Boris Johnson has resisted changing the relaxation of rules over the festive period – but warned “a smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas”.
Addressing the nation from Downing Street – flanked by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty – the prime minister called for people to reduce their contacts before celebrations, avoid overnight stays and stay local.
These points are guidance and will not be made law.
But in a blow to the four-nation approach to Christmas, Wales broke ranks and confirmed it will be putting its new guidance on limiting Christmas gatherings to two households into legislation.