UK coronavirus hospital death toll rises by three as infection rate soarsby Dave Burke
The UK's coronavirus hospital death toll has climbed by three, after a patient died in an English hospital and two fatalities in Northern Ireland.
There were no Covid-19 fatalities in Wales, but 183 new infections were diagnosed, while Scotland also recorded zero deaths and 70 new cases.
Northern Ireland reported two further deaths, and 109 new cases.
Yesterday health authorities confirmed five fatalities in hospitals, while worrying new government data shows that the number of cases is now rising across all age groups.
Today the "rule of six" comes into force, after the daily infection figure crossed 3,000 for the third day in a row yesterday.
And the real number could be far higher, with thousands of Brits unable to get tested.
It is now feared that the number of cases is doubling every seven to eight days.
Alarming new data shows that hotspots in England are continuing to experience a massive growth in new cases.
Oadby and Wigston, in Leicestershire, has seen its infection rate soar from 24.6 to 114.0 per 100,000 cases in just seven days.
It is now England's fourth worst area, one place behind Hyndburn in Lancashire, where new infections have more than doubled.
Warrington, the sixth worst-affected place, has seen new cases treble in a week, while new cases in Knowsley are close to three times higher than they were a week ago.
Sunderland, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Leeds have also seen large increases, as scientists warn Britain is on the cusp of a second wave.
Of the 30 places with highest infection rates, just two - Pendle and Rossendale - have seen the number of cases fall in a week.
There are currently 248 places with rates of more than 10 new cases per 100,000 - listed below - of which 193 have recorded an increase in seven days.
It comes amid warnings that the UK needs to act fast to stop coronavirus cases growing out of control, with a delay of even a few days potentially "dangerous", according to an academic who advises the Government.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine, Imperial College London, said a "trickle" of cases can turn into a "cascade".
He said that the country faces going back into "hard lockdown".
His comments come as concerns grow over an increase in Covid-19 cases in care homes, prompting the Government to send an alert to care providers to highlight the rising rates and to call for action.
The letter, which was sent on Friday, urges care bosses to "take the necessary action to prevent and limit outbreaks", pointing out that in the last three days there had been an increase in notifications of coronavirus cases in care homes.
The Government's new rule of six can seem "somewhat irrational" at times, but the alternative could be a wider lockdown, a top scientist has said.
From today, it is illegal for people in England to meet in groups of more than six, inside or outside.
Fines can be issued to anyone found flouting the rules, starting at £100, but which could climb to £3,200.