CORONAVIRUS deaths have risen by 397 in the largest daily increase in fatalities since May.
But cases have continued to level off as 20,018 more people tested positive for the bug today – as the country faces a second lockdown from Thursday.
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This time last week the cases were at 22,885, with 367 deaths.
Today's increase brings the total number of fatalities to 47,250.
And the rise in infections brings the total number of cases to 1,073,882, afterinfections passed the million mark on Saturday.
Yesterday the country recorded the fewest new infections in a fortnight, with 18,950 cases.
But separate government figures show that 10,377 patients are currently in hospital in England – an increase on the figure of 8,171 a week ago.
Meanwhile, 952 patients are in ventilation beds, up from 742 from last week.
There have also been a further 1,119 cases of coronavirus in Wales reported today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 54,456.
Public Health Wales reported a further four deaths, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 1,895.
Scotland has recorded 28 deaths from coronavirus and 999 positive tests in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon said.
It comes as Britain's crucial coronavirus R rate has fallen to 1, experts claim – raising questions over a second national lockdown.
Today's increase in fatalities marks the largest daily rise since May 27, when 413 deaths were recorded.
AS LOCKDOWN LOOMS…
It comes as new data from the Covid Symptom Tracker app, run by King's College London, has revealed a slight drop in Covid-19 infections.
The data goes against the Government's official R rate for the UK which was estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.3 on Friday.
People in England will go into lockdown on Thursday – as the Welsh prepare to leave a 17-day firebreak shutdown.
Today Boris Johnson promised lockdown will end on December 2 and there will be "better days before us".
The PM told a Cabinet meeting today that without the four week lockdown Britain would without a doubt "see fatalities running in the thousands" but there is a "light ahead" for Britain.
The decision to shut non-essential shops and ask Brits not to travel comes after Government scientists suggested there could be 4,000 deaths a day in England alone by early December.
But some experts say graphs used to justify a second Covid lockdown in England are "misleading" and are "mathematically incorrect".
Heat maps presented to the general public on Saturday evening made for scary viewing as the colour coded charts showed the pandemic was out of control – predicting a worst case scenario of more than 4,000 deaths a day by December.
But, one of the scientists who worked on that study, said the data was presented incorrectly.
As the latest figures on deaths were released, Mr Johnson was facing a showdown with rebels from his own party over plans for the shutdown.
MPs have blasted the measures as "evil" and warned they will "ruin lives".
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