A further 563 people have died in the UK because of the coronavirus.
The death toll since the pandemic began has now reached 81,431, according to Department of Health data.
A total of 3,072,349 positive cases have been recorded during the pandemic, with 54,940 in the past 24 hours.
Today’s grim tally is more than 100 higher than last Sunday’s 455, and is the third highest Sunday death toll since the pandemic began.
At the beginning of April 657 people died on a single Sunday – despite figures generally being lower on the last day of the week due to a reporting lag.
In a sign of how widely spread the virus has become this winter, a record number of deaths were recorded on Friday, when 1,325 died in just one day.
Prof Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, said existing measures might have to be tightened further as he warned the country was “now in the eye of a storm” with the pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock did not rule out lockdown rules being strengthened as the virus continues to rage out of control across the country.
Do you think the lockdown measures should be tightened? Comment below.
A toughening of measures could mean…
- Nurseries being closed;
- Support bubbles being banned;
- The public told to wear masks outside;
- Exercise limited to one hour.
It comes as March 23rd, the anniversary of the first lockdown, was touted as the first realistic date for restrictions to be lifted.
Pressed on possible restrictions, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “I don’t want to speculate because the most important message is not whether the Government will further strengthen the rules.
“The most important thing is that people stay at home and follow the rules that we have got.
“And that, in terms of the scale of the impact on the cases, that is the most important thing we can do collectively as a society.”