UK Covid cases reach another record daily high as government raises alert level to five

The numbers also showed that some 2,713,563 people have now tested positive for Covid in the UK, with an additional 407 deaths recorded over the last day.

Patients were aged between 26 and 102. All except 18, aged between 34 and 102, had known underlying health conditions, according to the NHS.

Government figures confirm the UK has reached another record daily high in new coronavirus cases, up to 58,784 on Monday – the highest since the pandemic began last year.

It marks the seventh consecutive day that there have been more than 50,000 new cases in a 24-hour period across Britain.

On Sunday, the figures stood at 54,990 new coronavirus infections and 454 deaths.

As a result of still-surging cases, Boris Johnson will deliver a televised address this evening at 8pm in which he is expected to announce stricter lockdown measures than are already in place – with multiple reports suggesting a national lockdown is in order.

Government sources have said the Covid-19 alert level will be raised to five – the highest setting, according to the Mirror.

It means experts consider there is a “material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed” and there should be “extremely strict social distancing”, according to the government’s official definitions of the five-level, colour-coded alert system.

It is set by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which includes all four nations’ chief medical officers.

Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, tweeted earlier on Monday to say she would be “speaking with HMG at 5pm regarding a coronavirus response across the four nations”, adding there would be an “executive meeting at 6pm immediately afterwards”.

The Covid-19 alert level refers to the threat of the epidemic and is separate from the tiering system currently in place across England.

A level five classification would indicate scientists consider the virus to be so widespread, it risks overwhelming the NHS and drastic action must be taken.

The UK’s chief medical officers (CMOs) released a joint statement on Monday evening to say the Covid alert level should be moved to five immediately due to the NHS and “other parts of the health services across the UK” being under “immense pressure”.

In the statement, the CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, said without further action – and due to rising cases – the NHS “in several areas” risked being overwhelmed in the next three weeks.

“Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK chief medical officers and NHS England medical director recommend that the UK alert level should move from Level 4 to Level 5,” they said.

“Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant. We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.”

Mr Johnson said on Monday morning tougher measures would be brought in, which was later followed up by a statement from No 10 that confirmed “more” needed to be done to “protect the NHS and save lives”.

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