T

he UK has recorded a further 574 Covid-19 deaths as well as more than 39,000 new cases.

The Government said that, as of 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 39,036 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 2,188,587.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 86,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to be drawn on whether he would rule out another national lockdown.

Asked at a press conference if he could rule out another national lockdown after Christmas, Boris Johnson said being able to “grip this virus now” was needed to “stop it running out of control in January”.

“Obviously we face very considerable new pressures, particularly from the new variant and the speed with which that’s been that’s been spreading,” the Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference.

“We believe that we’re going to have to get through this tough period now with, as I say, as I have said many times, very tough restrictions, with tough tiering.

“You will have seen what has been announced over the last day or so about that and, much as I regret that, I do think it is necessary for us to grip this virus now, to stop it running out of control in January.

“Because we need to buy ourselves time to get the vaccine into as many arms of the elderly and vulnerable as we can. That is the real way in which we will defeat the virus.

“So, it’s tough tiering, community testing and rolling out the vaccine, and we’re going to continue with that approach.”

He added: “I know that it’s been very, very tough over the last few weeks and, I must tell people, it will continue to be difficult.”

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