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The UK's coronavirus death toll has risen by 376, with a further 27,301 people testing positive for the virus in 24 hours.
The heartbreaking figure was released after the number of lives lost to the virus passed 50,000 this week, making the UK the fifth country to pass the grim milestone.
The latest casualties bring the number of coronavirus victims since the start of the pandemic to 51,304.
A week ago there were 379 fatalities in all settings, while a month ago, on October 13, there were 143.
The Department of Heath and Social Care this afternoon confirmed that nearly 15,000 people are in hospital with the virus, of which 1,275 are in ventilator beds.
Earlier today heath authorities confirmed 342 people had died in hospitals after contracting Covid-19.
This included 246 fatalies in England, 56 in Scotland, 29 in Wales and 11 in Northern Ireland.
The youngest victim in England was aged 26.
The UK this week became the fifth country to pass 50,000 Covid-19 deaths
(Image: Getty Images)
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The new figures were released as the number of frontline health and care workers hit 200, with Government scientists warned infections are likely to increase again in December if lockdowns are lifted everywhere.
the UK's coronavirus reproduction (R) number has fallen slightly to between 1 and 1.2 across the UK, but deaths will keep rising, say Government scientists.
Analysis from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggests infections are likely to increase again in December if lockdowns are lifted everywhere.
It suggests local restrictions will be needed in certain areas in the weeks before Christmas.
Sage warned that the virus is still spreading and deaths and demand for healthcare will carry on unless R drops below one for an extended period of time.
The R number in England is now estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.2
(Image: Press Association Images)
UK coronavirus R rate falls as low as 1 but deaths will keep rising, scientists warn
It said the number of new infections is growing by between 1% to 3% every day.
For the past few weeks, it has put the R at between 1.1 and 1.3.
If the R value is above one then the Covid-19 epidemic continues to grow, but if it is below one it shows the outbreak is in retreat.
Separate Sage documents released on Friday indicate the national outbreak is still at a “high and controlled” phase.
If this remains the case, or if the outbreak returns to current levels after national lockdown is lifted on December 2, Sage advised that there is “little to no scope for loosening of social distancing rules over Christmas”.
The official R reproductive number is still above 1 because infections are still increasing among the elderly.
For England the R is slightly higher at between 1.1 and 1.2, down from a 1.1-1.3 range the previous week.
It suggests R could have dropped below 1 in Wales and Scotland.