The UK’s coronavirus hospital death toll has increased by 98 – the highest jump on a Friday since early June – as much of the country braces for tougher lockdown restrictions.
England reported 82 new fatalities, Scotland had nine, Wales recorded five and Northern Ireland had two to bring the hospital count to 35,730.
It is biggest increase on a Friday since 142 deaths were announced four months ago on June 5.
By comparison, the death tolls on recent Fridays were 64 on October 9, 55 on October 2, 36 on September 25, 18 on September 18 and nine on September 11.
The lowest increase announced on a Friday was five on August 21, while the highest was 953, which was set on April 10 when the UK was going through the first peak of its outbreak.
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NHS hospitals are bracing for a surge in admissions
The death tolls announced this week were 98 on Friday, 108 on Thursday, 97 on Wednesday, 101 on Tuesday and 43 on Monday, which was lower due to a lag in reporting weekend fatalities.
On Friday, NHS England announced 82 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in hospitals in England to 30,825.
The victims were aged between 35 and 97 years old, and all but eight (aged between 49 and 94) had known underlying health conditions.
The North West reported the most deaths (39), followed by North East & Yorkshire (21), the Midlands (13), East (five) and London (four). There were no fatalities reported in both the South East and South West.
This map shows the lockdown restrictions in place across England
(Image: Press Association Images)
People out and about in Preston city centre in Lancashire, which is being moved to Tier 3
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)
Lancashire is set to enter a Tier 3 (very high) lockdown, which carries the toughest restrictions, from Saturday, as London, most of Essex and York move into Tier 2 (high).
Leaders in Liverpool City Region, the first area to go into a Tier 3 lockdown, branded the new system a “shambles” due to inconsistencies.
Number 10, meanwhile, said the Prime Minister was not currently looking at imposing a so-called “circuit-breaker” national lockdown.
Scotland has recorded nine deaths of coronavirus patients in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
This takes the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 2,594.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said 1,196 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours.
This is 16.9% of newly-tested individuals, down from 17.6% on Thursday.
She said 45,232 people have now tested positive for the virus, up from 44,036 the day before.
This chart shows a sharp rise in the number of hospital admissions
(Image: Press Association Images)
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Of the new cases, 416 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 309 in Lanarkshire, 161 in Lothian, and 104 in Ayrshire and Arran.
There are 629 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 27 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 58 were in intensive care, up by six.
Ms Sturgeon said a new tiered lockdown system in Scotland will “strengthen our resilience to live with this virus” when it replaces temporary measures due to end on October 25.
In Wales, the death toll increased by five to 1,703 and there were 979 new cases – a daily record – taking the total to 34,0005.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government will be meeting over the weekend to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown and announce any decisions on Monday.
The latest R numbers by region in England, as of Friday 16 October
Wales’ ban on visitors entering from coronavirus hotspots elsewhere in the UK comes into effect on Friday.
There were two additional deaths in Northern Ireland, where a four-week circuit breaker lockdown comes into effect on Friday. The toll now stands at 608.
It also set a new daily record with 1,299 confirmed cases. Its total is now 25,177.
Meanwhile, the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK still remains above 1.
Data released on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows the estimate for R for the whole of the UK is between 1.3 and 1.5.
Last week, the R number was between 1.2 and 1.5.
R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.
When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.
An R number between 1.3 and 1.5 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 13 and 15 other people.