The UK death toll from COVID-19 has risen 4.4% in the past week, according to data released by health authorities on Friday.
The number of those who died within 28 days of advanced testing was recorded as 489 to bring the number to more than 3,000 in a week.
The number of infections in the same week rose by more than 40% as 167,713 people tested positive – 28,507 in the last day.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he “hopes to avoid” another national closure in England but government scientific advisers have pointed out that the number of Rs across the country is now between 1.1 and 1.2, up from 0.9-1.1 the previous week.
The latest numbers came when Johnson asked the public to hold small Christmas parties to stop the spread of the virus.
He said people should “think about our old friends” to “spread the disease” over this period.
According to government guidelines, three families can spend time during the festival, but Johnson said at a news conference earlier in the week that the fewer the number, the better.
The government’s announcement came at Christmas despite editors in the country’s two medical journals warning against slow measures.
Also on Friday, Northern Ireland announced that the country would enter a 6-week lockdown starting from Boxing Day which falls on December 26th.
The total number of deaths is 66,541, according to official data, the highest in Europe.
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