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COVID-19: England, Wales and Northern Ireland record 70,924 coronavirus cases and 88 deaths in last 24 hours

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have recorded 70,924 COVID cases and 88 coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period.

Sunday’s daily figures do not include Scotland due to a “technical issue”.

It follows 81,713 positive cases and 287 deaths (of people within 28 days of first testing positive for COVID-19) reported across the whole of the UK on Saturday.

This was down from 270 deaths reported in the UK on Friday, 335 deaths reported on Thursday, and 398 deaths reported on Wednesday.

Last Sunday there were 141,472 new cases and 246 deaths reported across the UK.

Read live updates on COVID in the UK and around the world

Restrictions could be lifted by end of January

It comes as coronavirus restrictions in England could be lifted by the end of January, with the Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden telling Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday that he was “hopeful”, thanks to “encouraging signs”.

The current Plan B rules – which includes the mandatory wearing of face masks in some settings, the use of vaccine passports or negative lateral flow tests to enter some venues and working from home where possible – are due to be reviewed in 10 days.

Mr Dowden added that there is “promising data” on COVID infections and hospitalisations that give “pause for hope and optimism that we may be emerging from the worst of Omicron“.

His comments come after Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said infection levels in London, the South East and East of England are flattening off.

She said that while case numbers are still rising in northern parts of the country, the growth rate there is slowing.

On Friday, the UK’s R (reproduction) number was estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.5, meaning that every 10 people infected with coronavirus will on average pass the disease to between 11 and 15 other people.

Troubles for Boris Johnson

Meanwhile, a sixth Conservative MP has called for the prime minister to quit over the ever-growing list of alleged lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to strike back by ousting members of his inner circle.

Tim Loughton, former children’s minister and East Worthing and Shoreham MP, said Mr Johnson’s position had become “untenable” and that his resignation would be “the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end”.



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