Covid: UK reports more than 80,000 deaths

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More than 80,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test since the start of the pandemic, official figures have shown.

A further 1,035 deaths in the UK were reported on Saturday, taking the total by that measure to 80,868.

The number of daily cases of people who tested positive for coronavirus increased by 59,937.

According to Johns Hopkins University, only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico have recorded more Covid deaths.

It comes as scientists advising the government have warned that lockdown measures in England need to be stricter to achieve the same impact as the March shutdown.

Ministers have launched a new campaign urging people to act like they have the virus.

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Under the national lockdown, people in England must stay at home and can only go out for essential reasons. Similar measures are in place across most of Scotland, in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Prof Robert West, a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which advises the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the current rules were "still allowing a lot of activity which is spreading the virus".

He said the new variant of Covid was around 50% more infectious compared to the virus that infected people last March.

"That means that if we were to achieve the same result as we got in March we would have to have a stricter lockdown, and it (the current regime) is not stricter," he added.

The professor of health psychology at University College London also told the BBC more children were going to school, compared to during the first lockdown.

He said schools were "a very important seed of community infection".

More children are at school, after the Department for Education widened the categories of vulnerable and key worker pupils allowed to attend. Attendance rates have risen to 50% in some places.

Prof Susan Michie, who is also a member of Sage, also said the spread of the new, more infectious variant meant current Tier 4 restrictions were "too lax".

"When you look at the data, it shows that almost 90% of people are overwhelmingly adhering to the rules – despite the fact that we're also seeing more people out and about," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

She said in comparison to the first lockdown in spring 2020, more people were allowed to go out to work and children's nurseries were open, making public transport busier.

On Saturday afternoon, 12 people were arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in south London.

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