Another 67 people have died from coronavirus in the UK over the past day.
Today’s increase is the highest Sunday increase in casualties since June 7, when 77 were registered, with occasions also increasing today to 16,982.
England suffered 59 deaths, while Northern Ireland had five, Wales three and Scotland zero.
This comes as the death toll at the UK coronavirus hospital rose to 69.
Both figures are calculated differently which means that the number of hospital deaths can sometimes be higher than that for all fatalities.
The total number of deaths in the UK now stands at 43,646, with the total number of cases reaching 722,409.
A member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) has said Christmas will be “difficult” this year and is unlikely to be a traditional family holiday if Covid-19 infections continue to rise during flu season.
Professor Jeremy Farrar said a national block of switches is now needed, as previously recommended by Sage last month, claiming there could currently be 50,000 cases of coronavirus per day across the UK.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the director of Wellcome Trust said the “best time” to introduce the temporary blockade would have been around September 20th.
“The ‘second best time’ is now, and the ‘worst time’ is the end of November when things would have gotten significantly worse.”
He added: “I think we have to be honest and realistic and say we are inside for three to six months of a very, very difficult period.
“Temperatures drop, we’re all inside the house more often, we have other infections coming in at this time of year.”
However, he said there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as he believes a Covid-19 vaccine and effective treatment will be ready in early 2021.
From today’s increase in hospital deaths, England reported 61 casualties, Northern Ireland had five, Wales recorded three and Scotland experienced none.
It is the biggest increase since Sunday when 77 deaths were announced on June 7th.
Last Sunday, 35 victims were confirmed on October 11, 29 on October 4, 18 on September 27 and 12 on September 20.
The lowest total on Sunday was three (set several times in August and early September), while the highest was 710 on April 12, when the UK was at the initial peak of its outbreak.
The figure tends to be lower on Sunday due to a weekend reporting delay.
NHS England reported 61 deaths, bringing the total number of casualties in hospitals in England to 30,971.
The last victims were between the ages of 54 and 96, and all but four, aged 56 to 92, had known basic health conditions. The deaths were between 4 and 17 October.
North West recorded the highest number of deaths (24), followed by Midlands (14), North East & Yorkshire (12), South East (five), London (four) and East (two). The Southwest region reported zero casualties.
Four other deaths were reported without any positive Covid-19 test result.
Northern Ireland reported five more deaths, totaling 615. There are now 27,220 confirmed cases after 1,012 positive tests.
The death toll in Wales rose by three to 1,711, while the number of confirmed cases rose by 950 to 35,628.
An elderly doctor told Sky News that there is no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus has become less dangerous, despite declining death rates.
Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the School of Intensive Care Medicine in London, said that although treatment is improving, social distancing also has an impact on transmission and viral load.
She said: “It is still a very deadly virus, although most people who are still infected will have a very, very small disease or may not even know they are sick at all.
“For those people seeking hospital admission, for those coming into intensive care it is still a very serious illness.”
She added: “If you end up in critical care with Covid pneumonia, you are almost twice as likely to die as someone who has been admitted with pneumonia not because of Covid – so it’s still something to worry about.”