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Another 492 Brits have died of Coronavirus in the highest daily death count since May.
A further 25,177 people have tested positive as England moves towards a second national lockdown, new figures show.
The death toll is up another 95 on figures reported on Tuesday as MPs voted to plunge England into lockdown from midnight on Thursday.
Daily coronavirus deaths have exceeded 300 on three occasions in the past week and today's count is the highest since May 17, when 500 people died from the killer bug.
It comes after NHS England announced it was moving to the highest alert level in response to the "serious situation ahead".
Figures released today show infections have risen 1.9% in a week, with government officials today declaring another 25,177 new positive tests.
NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said the health service was moving to level four as more patients require intensive care.
The NHS guidelines describe Level 4 as "pressure continues to escalate leaving organisations unable to deliver comprehensive care".
Sir Simon said at a press conference: "We want to try and ensure that the health service is there for everybody, minimising the disruption to the full range of care that we provide, not just Covid but cancer services, routine operations and mental health services.
Covid crisis worsens as NHS sets Level 4 alert and 'patient safety compromised'
Meanwhile, the lockdown has been made official as MPs backed Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 restrictions to start on Thursday.
The latest shutdown, set to end on December 2, was backed by 516 MPs compared to 38 rebels.
Pubs, restaurants and bars will have to close at midnight tonight for several weeks.
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After December 2 Boris Johnson has claimed he will return England to the tiered system that local councils have grappled with for weeks.
Speaking in Parliament the Prime Minister said: "Of course I can't say exactly where the epidemiology will be by December 2, but what I can say is that the national measures… are time-limited.
"It is not that we choose to stop them, they legally expire, so whatever we do from December 2 will require a fresh mandate and a fresh vote from this House."
And in other Coronavirus news, the director of the Oxford vaccine offered a "small chance" that a jab will be available by Christmas.
The trial’s chief investigator Andrew Pollard told The Science and Technology Committee he is "optimistic" about the prospect, but added: "There is a small chance of that being possible, but I just don’t know."
- Boris Johnson
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