England has recorded 32,725 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures, as festive bubbles were cancelled for millions.
Nationwide figures weren’t released today as the devolved nations’ tallies aren’t counted on the Government dashboard over Christmas.
But in England 570 deaths were recorded – bringing the national tally since March up to 70,195.
Last week, Christmas was cancelled for millions of people living in London, the south-east of England and Wales after Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown.
In hospitals around England 401 patients died of coronavirus on Christmas Day. The grim figure, which is for Covid-related hospital deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, compares to 317 a week ago.
There were another 33 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the person’s death certificate. None of the deaths were under 40 years old and all but 14 had underlying health conditions, according to the latest data.
It means the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals now stands at 48,150 people.
Another 401 people have died from coronavirus in hospitals in England, according to the latest data. Pictured, Matt Hancock revealing further restrictions on December 23
The figures for December 25 are just for England, as the devolved nation’s statistics haven’t been included in the Government dashboard over Christmas
The number of people with coronavirus in England last week spiked to pre-second lockdown levels with almost 646,000 people carrying the illness
Northern Ireland did not update its death figures yesterday. They will not be resumed until December 28. There will be no data for Wales on December 25 or January 1.
Similarly in Scotland, death figures will not be updated today through to December 28. There will also be no figures between January 1 and January 4.
It comes as more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Scotland as measures have been eased for Christmas.
A total of 1,165 new cases were reported by the Scottish Government in the past 24 hours, new figures have shown.
The number is 4.3 per cent of all tests undertaken during that period, down from 5.3% the day before.
In total, 118,035 cases have been reported in Scotland since the beginning of the pandemic.
The latest figure comes as a new strain of coronavirus grips south-east England. The strain is thought to be better at spreading, but is not yet thought to be more deadly.
One in every 85 people in England are now infected with coronavirus, half of them have caught the new super-infectious strain and cases in London have trebled in two weeks.
But Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows the epidemic is being driven by southern regions, where the variant has become the dominant strain, with cases still falling of flattening in the North and Midlands, where it is yet to become widespread.
Officials fear, however, it is only a matter of time before the mutant variant – which is up to 56 per cent more infectious than regular Covid and was first detected in Kent in September – becomes prevalent everywhere.
About two-thirds of people testing positive in London, the East and the South East, are thought to have the new variant, the ONS said. Nationally, the strain is thought to make up 50 per cent of infections.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister made the surprise announcement on December 19 that a new ‘Tier 4’ was to be introduced from midnight.
It shuttered non-essential retail, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys – while people are restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.
It meant thousands of Britons had to cancel their Christmas Day plans, because meeting in a bubble was no longer allowed.
Speaking to a Downing Street news conference, Boris Johnson announced the new measures ‘with a heavy heart’.
He said: ‘I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year, and how important it is, for instance, for grandparents to see their grandchildren, for families to be together.
‘So I know how disappointing this will be. But we have said throughout this pandemic that we must and we will be guided by the science.
‘When the science changes, we must change our response.’