UK surpasses 60,000 deaths from coronavirus

Official figures show that more than 60,000 people in the UK have now died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

The 60,000 figure remains less than two other ways of measuring deaths - where coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate, and the number of ‘excess deaths’ for this time of year. Nevertheless, the figure means that only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico have recorded more deaths than the UK. The UK has now had more deaths per 100,000 people than any of the nations mentioned above.

More than two-thirds of the government’s tally – around 41,500 deaths which occurred up to early September – happened in the first wave. The second-wave death toll – 18,500 deaths since 4 September – means that the pace at which deaths are occurring is slower.

The latest daily figures for the UK also showed a further 14,879 people have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the UK's total cases to 1,674,134.

Meanwhile, bed occupancy rates have fallen in almost three-fifths of English hospitals since the week ending 8 November - the first week these figures were published.

In the week to 29 November, 87 per cent of beds in English hospitals were occupied, compared with 88 per cent the previous week. The NHS is meant to keep at least 10 per cent of its beds free so that it can be flexible, allowing it to admit patients and cope with surges in demand.