UK reports 23,287 new Covid-19 cases

Another 23,287 people in the UK have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which increased the country’s overall infection tally to 1,146,484, according to official figures.

Also on Friday, coronavirus deaths rose by 355 to 48,475, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier in the day, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) announced that the UK’s coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, remained between 1.1 and 1.3, the same as last week’s figure.

The R number is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how fast the virus is spreading in the country.

If the R number is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially.

Also on Friday, queues were seen outside new test centres in Liverpool which were opened at midday as part of the country’s first mass coronavirus testing programme.

England on Thursday entered a month-long national lockdown, the second of its kind since the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, in a bid to quell the resurgence of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the four-week lockdown, which will end on December 2, will be enough to make a “real impact” on the coronavirus infection rates.

Johnson also expressed his hope of “as normal a Christmas as possible”.