The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK rose by 964, to a record 55,892 cases in the last day.
Thursday’s total positive test exceeds the previous high of 53,135 new cases confirmed by the lab, set on Tuesday, by nearly 3,000.
This brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,488,780.
The daily death toll of 964 is the second highest in the second wave of the pandemic after 981 deaths were confirmed on Wednesday.
The UK’s official toll now stands at 73,512 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, although the actual total, including death certificates mentioning Covid-19, is believed to be more than 88,000.
The latest figures were announced as Britain’s busiest hospital entered a “disaster medicine regime” and could not provide “critical care at high standards” as it is flooded with patients with Covid-19, it is claimed.
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Dr Julia Grace Patterson, founder of the NHS Every Doctor UK campaign group, claimed on Twitter that Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel had sent an email to notify staff of the serious situation.
It comes a day after senior doctors at a hospital in East London urged bosses to report a major incident, as staff were at the “breaking point” as the number of coronavirus patients tripled in just five days – from at 200 on Christmas Eve at 638 on Tuesday.
While hospitals in the UK are under increasing stress during the second devastating wave of Covid-19, Dr Patterson wrote on Twitter: “From Royal London Hospital, this e-mail from management:” We are now in disaster medicine mode.
“We no longer offer critical care at high standards, because we can’t.” The content of this email is SHOCKING. ”
Professor Alistair Chesser, chief group officer for the Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Royal London, said: “The rapid expansion of intensive care beds in our hospitals has led to the necessary changes in the model of clinical staff, in line with national guidelines.
“Despite this, our dedicated staff provides high quality care to all who need it because of their dedication and ability.”
Addressing the 964 deaths announced on Thursday, Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for public health in England, said: “We know that the vast majority of deaths reported today are people who have unfortunately died in the last few days. it is a sadness. It is imperative that we take action now to protect our families and friends.
“We all had to make huge sacrifices this year, but please make sure you keep your distance from others, wash your hands and wear a mask. A New Year’s Eve will mean that you significantly reduce your social contacts and can help you stop the spread of the virus. “
Earlier on Thursday, NHS England reported 529 more deaths, including 106 in London.
In Scotland, a total of 2,622 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, following 2,045 infections on Wednesday and 1,895 on Tuesday.
Another 68 deaths were reported on Thursday, bringing the death toll in Scotland under the measure – those who tested positive for the virus for the first time in 28 days – to 4,578.
Seven Covid-19 deaths were reported between Friday 25 December and Tuesday 29 December – although the Scottish government noted that the registry offices had been closed on public holidays – with another 43 deaths reported on Wednesday.
There were another 1,831 cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 148,537.
Public Health Wales reported another 65 deaths, bringing the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 3,494.
Another 11 people died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.
Another 1,929 people gave positive results.
The occupancy of the hospital bed is 467, with 34 in an intensive care unit and 27 on a ventilator.
The total occupancy rate of the bed, including unseen patients, is 100%, with only six unoccupied.
A total of 107 outbreaks of coronavirus at home are addressed.
Meanwhile, doctors working on the front lines of the British battle against the disease have asked the British not to mix with others on New Year’s Eve, as hospitals are under increasing stress every day.
Professor Hugh Montgomery, an intensive care physician, warned those who do not wear masks and continue to mix unnecessarily, have “blood on their hands”.
He said anyone who thinks it is acceptable to have “another night out” spreads the virus.
He told BBC Radio Five Live: “Anyone who listens to this who doesn’t wear a mask and behaves like that – has blood on their hands, spreads this virus. Other people will spread it and people will die.
“They won’t know they killed people, but they did.”
Prof Montgomery said the consequences of Christmas’s “bad behavior” would not be seen in intensive care units until next week, and the results of any similar actions by New Year’s Eve people would be felt in hospitals about 10 days later.
In England, NHS hospitals treat a record number of patients with Covid-19, and infection rates continue to rise in all regions, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.
This week, ambulances were seen queuing outside hospitals, including Royal London and Queen’s in Romford, both in east London, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
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The number of people who tested positive for the virus in England also reached a new record, with a total of 232,169 in the week to December 23 – the highest weekly total since the launch of the test and follow-up in May.
Vigil hospitals in England are “ready” for use, if necessary, as the number of Covid patients increases.
The NHS in London has been asked to ensure that the Excel site is “reactivated and ready to admit patients” as hospitals in the struggle for capital.
Other sites at Nightingale Hospital in England include Manchester, Bristol, Sunderland, Harrogate, Exeter and Birmingham.
At Nightingales, an NHS spokesman said: “London hospitals are under significant pressure due to high rates of Covid-19 infection and as staff move on and the NHS in London opens more beds in hospitals. The NHS in the capital, in order to take care of the worst patients, it is crucial that people do everything they can to reduce the transmission of the virus.
In anticipation of rising pressures from the spread of the new variant of the infection, NHS London has been asked to ensure London Nightingale has been reactivated and ready to admit patients as needed, and that the process is ongoing.
The Exeter site received the first Covid patients in November, when it began accepting those transferred from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which was described as “very busy”.
Nightingale Hospitals in Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate are currently being used for blind patients, the spokesman said.
He added: “The number of Covid hospitalized patients is rising so that the rest of Nightingales are prepared to admit patients once more if they are needed, in accordance with best clinical practice developed in the first and second.” coronavirus val.
NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis described Nightingale Hospitals as “our insurance policy, there as our last resort”.
He told the Downing Street news conference on Wednesday: “A few weeks ago, I asked all Nightingale hospitals to be ready to take patients if necessary.
“Indeed, some of them are already doing this, in Manchester taking resigned patients, in Exeter managing patients with Covid and in other places managing the diagnosis, for example.
But our first steps in managing additional demands on the NHS are to expand capacity in existing hospitals – which is the best way to use our staff.
Concerns have been raised about the ability of the already extended health service to hire Nightingale facilities.
Dr. Nick Scriven, the immediate president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “It is not ‘just the case’ to use Nightingale Hospital, because there are simply no staff to function as they were originally designed (mini intensive care units). ). “