THIS interactive map reveals how many coronavirus cases are in your area as infection levels continue to rise across the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today revealed that more restrictions could be placed on Brits to control the spread of the virus.
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Mr Hancock admitted that another national lockdown could be introduced, and hinted that more areas could move from Tier 3 restrictions – to the toughest Tier 4 measures.
He said the government "isn't ruling anything out" when it comes to introducing new measures and said they won't shy away from bringing in new restrictions if they are needed to save lives.
Speaking on Sky News this morning he said everyone should act as though they have the virus.
"We have shown that we can move incredibly quickly – within 24 hours if that's necessary. We keep these things under review all the time.
"We look at the data on a daily basis – we can see there are significant rises."
Some Tier 3 areas are seeing a sharp rise in cases too, he warned, in a hint they will be bumped up to Tier 4 in the coming days.
In Tier 4 areas, all non-essential shops are closed, as well as gyms. Hospitality venues are also closed – as in Tier 3 areas.
Cases have continued to rise after two new variants were discovered.
The first was discovered in the South East of England and the other, in South Africa.
Mr Hancock stressed that the South African variant is "much more contagious" and that a coming into contact with a "tiny amount" could mean you catch the disease.
But Mr Hancock ruled out another Tier, saying: "We haven’t got any proposals for a Tier 5".
And he talked down restrictions on outdoor exercising too, promising that "we know it’s much, much less likely to spread when you are outdoors."
It comes as:
- A British pensioner becomes the first in the world to have the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab
- Ministers discuss tough restrictions to combat new variant
- Parents face chaos as some classrooms across the country stay closed after the Christmas break
- Experts warn the peak of the second coronavirus wave is just weeks away
- London Nightingale to open in days as hospital admissions in the capital start to overwhelm NHS staff
Data from the government's coronavirus dashboard shows that 54,990 people tested positive for the virus on January 3.
Up to this date it also states that 2.6 million people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet officials to decide whether the mutant strain of coronavirus surging through the country will mean a return to a March-style lockdown, with schools shut, non-essential shops shuttered and most travel banned.
Additional restrictions – dubbed Tier 5 – are also being considered, but ministers say there are no current plans for an additional official Tier.
Government sources have played down the prospect of a national curfew or restrictions on exercising outside.
The Government's Covid-O committee, which makes decisions on restrictions, will meet in the coming days, and Mr Hancock has stressed the data is being looked at daily.
Mr Johnson is expected to make an assessment of the latest infection numbers that will include the first signs of the effect of easing social distancing over Christmas – due in the coming days.
Pressure is also building on the NHS as hospital admissions continue to soar.
Speaking this morning, NHS England's medical director, Prof Steven Powis, said the NHS has "tried and tested" plans in place when it comes to coping with events like this.
It comes as there are already a third more Covid patients in hospitals than in April, with 25,000 battling the virus on wards.
Experts say the peak of this wave is two weeks away, with hospitals and medics struggling with the increase of cases.
Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, said: “There are now almost 25,000 people with Covid-19 in English hospitals — 32 percent more than the April peak.”
In April the country saw a peak of admissions of Covid patients of 18,974, now it is 24,957.
Prof Powis said the first port of call is to increase capacity – which he said has already been happening in London, including in intensive care units.
He said: "Hospitals will support each other if they are required to move patients from one hospital to another that can occur to and those plans are now in place in London and the South East and the rest of the country is ready to do that if required.
"I'm confident staff can step up and deal with it as they did in April and May of last year.
"The key is keeping infection rates low, everyone can play a part by sticking to the measures the government has in place.
"The more we can do to stop transmission rates the less pressure that will be translated through to our hospitals."
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