New daily coronavirus cases in UK top 60,000 for first time
Published: Jan 06, 2021 06:07 AM

People walk past the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, on Jan. 1, 2021. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua)

The number of new daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in Britain topped 60,000 for the first time on Tuesday since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, official figures showed.

The official figures showed Tuesday that Britain has recorded 60,916 new coronavirus cases and a further 830 deaths in the latest 24-hour period.

The official figures were revealed after it was the seventh day in a row on Monday that the daily new cases have topped 50,000 in Britain. Britain recorded 407 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 2,774,479, while the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain is 76,305, the data showed.

Responding to the latest figures, Public Health England's medical director Yvonne Doyle said, "The rapid rise in cases is highly concerning and will sadly mean yet more pressure on our health services in the depths of winter."

"That is why if we can, we must stay at home, reduce contacts and do everything possible to break the spread of this virus," Doyle said.

"It is by no means easy, but now more than ever we must all do our part to protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives," she said.

England on Tuesday entered a new national lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began in Britain early last year, as the country is struggling to curb rising coronavirus infections.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a news conference here late Tuesday, saying that "I think obviously everybody wants to be sure that we in government are now using every second of this lockdown to put that invisible shield around the elderly and the vulnerable in the form of vaccination."

Announcing the lockdown on Monday evening in a televised address, Johnson urged people across the country to "stay at home" except for permitted reasons, echoing the message back in March 2020.

The prime minister has pledged that the government would "do everything we can to keep the virus under control", warning that there are "tough, tough" weeks ahead in the fight against COVID-19.

Also on Monday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland would enter a new lockdown from midnight on Monday, as well as a shutdown of schools until Feb. 1.

Schools and colleges in Wales will also remain closed until at least Jan. 18 and move to online learning, while in Northern Ireland, which is already under a six-week lockdown, "stay at home" restrictions will be brought back into law and a period of remote learning for schoolchildren will be extended.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.