UK records highest coronavirus death toll since April, with new high in daily cases
Britain reported a further 1,041 coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, the highest since April, official figures showed Wednesday.
This brought the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 77,346, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in Britain hit 62,322 on Wednesday, the highest since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
It was the second day in a row that the number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in Britain topped 60,000. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 2,836,801.
The number of patients in British hospitals with COVID-19 is now above 30,000, the official figures showed.
The latest figures came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Wednesday that the easing of England's new national lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began in the country, would be a "gradual unwrapping" and not a "big bang".
The prime minister told MPs in the House of Commons, lower house of parliament, that the government will use "every available second" of the lockdown to place an "invisible shield" around elderly and vulnerable people through the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks.
Announcing the lockdown on Monday evening in a televised address, Johnson urged people across the country to "stay at home" except for permitted reasons, echoing the message back in March 2020.
The House of Commons was recalled from its Christmas recess to debate and will retrospectively vote later Wednesday on the lockdown which has already been in force.
With the backing of the main opposition the Labour Party, the measure is expected to pass the vote comfortably.
The prime minister has pledged that the government would "do everything we can to keep the virus under control", warning that there are "tough, tough" weeks ahead in the fight against COVID-19.