Eighty thousand people tested positive for Coronavirus on 29 December

The Prime Minister last night revealed that more than 80,000 people had tested positive for coronavirus on a single day in December as he plunged England into a new nationwide lockdown.

The UK has been announcing more than 50,000 new cases per day for a week now, but new figures showing the cases by specimen date reveal that 80,000 people tested positive for coronavirus on December 29. 

The number is different because not all cases are announced on the day the specimen is taken, and a backlog from the 29th is likely to mean those cases were spread over several days' announcements. 

It comes after fears that allowing Britons to mix at Christmas in parts of the country will have fuelled a huge spike in cases of the virus, despite Londoners and much of the South East being barred from meeting. 

Speaking in a televised address to the nation the Prime Minister said: 'On 29 December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for Covid across the UK – a new record. 

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'The number of deaths is up by 20 per cent over the last week and will sadly rise further. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones.'

Downing Street issued a series of slides showing the problem the country faces due to the new variant of the virus. The data showed that number of people being admitted to hospitals in England with Covid-19 has increased from April last year. The UK also recorded almost 1,000 deaths twice last week

Downing Street issued a series of slides showing the problem the country faces due to the new variant of the virus. The data showed that number of people being admitted to hospitals in England with Covid-19 has increased from April last year. The UK also recorded almost 1,000 deaths twice last week

'With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.

'In England, we must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant.

'That means the Government is once again instructing you to stay at home.

'You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.' 

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The announcement comes as the UK recorded 58,784 new cases yesterday - a 42 per cent rise from last Monday.

It means the UK has passed the milestone of 50,000 infections every day for a week, suggesting that the easing of restrictions at Christmas helped fuel the outbreak.

Department of Health chiefs also posted 407 more deaths, up just 14 per cent on the figure recorded last week. 

But it can take infected patients several weeks to fall severely ill and succumb to the illness, meaning fatalities have yet to reach their peak and will continue to rise. 

The UK recorded almost 1,000 deaths twice last week, in grisly tolls not seen since the darkest days of the spring.

During his televised announcement the Prime Minister warned that the new variant virus was between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible and in England alone the number of coronavirus patients had increased by nearly a third in the last week.

He said: 'Since the pandemic began last year, the whole United Kingdom has been engaged in a great national effort to fight Covid.

'And there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts were working and would have continued to work.

'But we now have a new variant of the virus. It has been both frustrating and alarming to see the speed with which the new variant is spreading. 

The UK saw 58,784 new cases today, a 42 per cent rise from last Monday, and also recorded  407 more deaths

The UK saw 58,784 new cases today, a 42 per cent rise from last Monday, and also recorded  407 more deaths

The Prime Minister said that in England alone the number of coronavirus patients had increased by nearly a third in the last week. It comes as the Covid alert level is moves from 4 to 5

The Prime Minister said that in England alone the number of coronavirus patients had increased by nearly a third in the last week. It comes as the Covid alert level is moves from 4 to 5

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