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The UK has suffered its worst day of the Covid pandemic yet as more than 1,300 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Government data confirms 1,325 further deaths recorded on Friday, January 8. The previous high was set back in April and stood at 1,224 deaths.
The spread of the deadly disease continues to speed up as well, with 68,053 positive tests confirmed in the last 24 hours as well.
On Thursday, the UK recorded what was at the time its second-highest death toll of the pandemic, with 1,162 more deaths confirmed.
Reacting to the shocking toll Dr William Welfare, Director for the COVID-19 response at Public Health England, said: “Each life lost to this virus is a tragedy, but sadly we can expect the death toll to continue to rise until we stop the spread.
“Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.
“To protect our loved ones it is essential we all stay at home where possible. This will reduce new infections, ease the pressure on the NHS and save lives.”
The news comes just hours after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in the capital, claiming Covid infections were rising so quickly that hospitals were now at a "critical" level.
He warned hospital beds will run out in the next two weeks "unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically".
The number of Covid patients is more than a third higher than during the first peak last April, he added.
Figures show one in 30 people in the city now has the virus, while the number of cases in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000.
Boris Johnson also revealed at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday evening that the army had taken over the UK's rollout of Covid vaccines – with a top doc warning the UK has just 39 days to vaccinate 14million people.
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