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    More than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK

    More than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK since the start of the pandemic – including a further 21,915 reported on Saturday, Government data reveals

    • England recorded another 208 deaths in hospitals today in an early count and Scotland saw a further 24
    • Wales saw another 13 deaths and Northern Ireland said it had recorded another 11 deaths
    • The death toll will be updated later today when the figures for the final death count are published 

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    More than a million cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK since the pandemic began, official figures revealed today.

    Department of Health statistics show Britain crossed the grim milestone today after recording a further 21,915 positive cases of coronavirus ahead of Boris Johnson’s address to the nation this afternoon.

    Another 256 deaths from coronavirus have been announced today in an early count, ahead of Boris Johnson‘s address to the nation amid warnings a second lockdown could be imposed within the next seven days.

    NHS England said it had recorded a further 208 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours. Scotland registered 24, Wales 13 and Northern Ireland 11.

    The figure is expected to rise later this afternoon after Department of Health officials include the number of deaths from other settings such as care homes.

    It is already above the figure for last Saturday, when 167 deaths were recorded.

    The number of cases will be released with the official death count later today.

    It comes ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation over reports that a second lockdown could be announced on Monday and come into force as soon as Wednesday in order to save Christmas. Mr Johnson called a meeting of his cabinet today to investigate the leak.

    SAGE has been calling for harsher curbs for weeks, warning that escalating cases will lead to a surging death rate and hospitals becoming overwhelmed by December 17.

    But others have shot back at the advisory panel, saying current measures may be enough to curb the spread of the virus. Liverpool, which was the first place to be put under the harshest curbs of Tier Three restrictions, has begun registering a fall in cases across all its local authorities – in a sign the measures are working.

    Infection rates across Liverpool's six local authorities have started to fall ten days after Tier Three was imposed

    Infection rates across Liverpool’s six local authorities have started to fall ten days after Tier Three was imposed

    Tier Three IS working: Liverpool registers falls in cases in all local areas 

    Infections are dropping across Liverpool’s six local authorities, official data reveals, in a clear sign that Tier Three restrictions are driving the city’s outbreak into reverse.

    Department of Health data shows infection rates fell by between nine and 15 per cent over the three days between a week after the harshest measures were imposed and October 23, the latest date for which figures are available.

    Experts argue infection rates should be compared from a week after Tier Three restrictions are imposed to establish whether they are having an impact because it takes at least five days for a person infected with coronavirus to develop symptoms.

    Restrictions in Liverpool saw the shutters pulled down on bars, cafes and pubs not serving substantial meals, bans on mixing in households and gyms and leisure centres forced to bolt their doors. But on October 23 fitness centres were allowed to reopen following negotiations with the Government.

    Of the city’s six local authorities – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool City, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral – only St Helens had an infection rate above the level it was at when lockdown was first imposed.

    It is still too early to tell whether Tier Three restrictions have had an impact in Lancashire, as the infection rate is only available for the first week that the measures were in force – but all of its local authorities have a downward trend in infections. Nonetheless, only seven of its 14 local authorities have rates below the level they were at when restrictions were imposed on October 17.

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    NHS England’s data showed the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 was in the North West – where almost half of the total, or 83, were registered.

    In the Midlands and the North East and Yorkshire an additional 36 deaths were recorded – the second highest levels.

    Mr Johnson’s coronavirus strategy is in tatters today after plans to impose a nationwide lockdown leaked, sparking the wrath of Tory MPs, anxious hospitality bosses and sceptical scientists. 

    The PM has been forced to bring forward what would be an humiliating U-turn on the need for blanket restrictions to a press conference at 5pm this evening, rather than waiting until Monday.

    Government sources briefed out the changes after bleak Sage modelling projected the virus is on track to kill 85,000 this winter, peaking at 4,000 daily deaths.

    The brutal squeeze could see non-essential shops in England shut for the rest of the month, with an ‘absolutely devastating’ impact on the already crippled hospitality sector. However, unlike the March lockdown schools and universities are expected to remain open – despite unions warning they are key to the spread.

    The leaks caused a storm with Downing Street launching a hunt for the mole amid fresh evidence of Cabinet splits, and tearing up the careful choreography designed to limit the damage. Mr Johnson has been holding a conference call with the wider Cabinet this afternoon, before addressing the nation alongside chief medical and science officers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.

    It comes after weeks of Mr Johnson slapping down demands for a ‘circuit-breaker’ – a form of which has already been implemented in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and instead relying on a ‘tiered’ system of local measures.

    But French President Emmanuel Macron launched a dramatic crackdown earlier this week, and the pressure on the PM to change tack has been mounting.

    Hawkish Conservative backbenchers are demanding any second lockdown be put to a vote in Parliament, with ‘at least 30’ prepared to revolt. One warned that the government will be ‘b**gered’ if it performs a volte face on the issue.

    Mr Johnson could face having to rely on Labour MPs to get the measures through the Commons, gifting Sir Keir Starmer a huge political win after he spent the last fornight calling for a ‘circuit breaker’. In a sign of Downing Street’s desperation to avoid a mutiny, rebel ringleader Steve Baker was summoned to No10 for talks this afternoon.

    Debate is also raging in the scientific community about the effectiveness of another lockdown, with former WHO director Prof Karol Sikora telling MailOnline ‘it makes no sense’.

    Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

    Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

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