THE UK is on track to hit the grim milestone of 50,000 coronavirus cases on Christmas Day as a new mutant strain of Covid-19 rips through the UK.
A third of Brits have been forced into Tier 4 lockdown for the festive period in a desperate attempt to stop the spread as authorities warn the bug is "out of control".
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But infections have already started doubling week on week – sparking fears December 25 could see the worrying milestone of 50,000 hit after 28,507 cases were recorded on December 18.
This week, record daily rises have been reported twice already as the infections double weekly.
On Tuesday, 36,804 cases were reported – a 99 per cent increase from the 18,450 infections recorded the week before.
And on Sunday, 35,928 infections were reported – a 94 per cent increase compared to the 18,447 cases reported the Sunday before.
If the trend continues, Christmas Day could see more than 50,000 cases recorded after 28,507 were reported on December 18.
Experts have this week warned that daily coronavirus deaths could reach 900 by New Year.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge also estimate that in England, the current daily number of new infections is 91,000.
And ministers are expected to meet again today – potentially putting more of England into Tier 4 lockdown in the coming days.
How cases have increased in December
Cases have continued to rise week-on-week in the UK.
December 1 cases – 13,430 to December 8 – 12,282 cases: 8% drop
December 2 cases – 16,170 to December 9 – 16,578: 2% increase
December 3 cases – 14,879 to December 10 – 20,964: 40% increase
December 4 cases – 16,298 to December 11 – 21,672: 31% increase
December 5 cases – 15,539 to December 12 – 21,502: 38% increase
December 6 cases – 17,272 to December 13 – 18,447: 6% increase
December 7 cases – 14,718to December 14 – 20,263: 37% increase
December 8 cases – 12,282 to December 15 – 18,450: 50% increase
December 9 cases – 16,578 to December 16 – 25,161: 51% increase
December 10 cases – 20,964 to December 17 – 35,383: 68% increase
December 11 cases – 21,672 to December 18 – 28,507: 31% increase
December 12 cases – 21,502 to December 19 – 27,052: 25% increase
December 13 cases – 18,447 to December 20 – 35,928: 94% increase
December 14 cases – 20,263 to December 21 – 33,364: 64% increase
December 15 cases: 18,450 to December 22 – 36,804: 99% increase
December 18 cases: 28,507
Sir Patrick Vallance had previously spoken of fears the bug would start to infect 50,000 people a day – warning that it would then equate to more than 200 deaths a day.
In September, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser had warned: "Fifty-thousand cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.
"The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.
"That requires speed, it requires action and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down."
Yesterday it was revealed Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty had reportedly warned PM Boris Johnson that the number of coronavirus hospital patients is on track to exceed the April peak at the beginning of the pandemic.
The government announced 20million Brits would need to be in lockdown for Christmas in an attempt to stop the rise in cases after scientists warned the new mutant strain could be 70% more infectious.
And the mutant coronavirus strain could see the whole of England thrown into a New Year lockdown, amid warnings it has spread "everywhere" in the UK.
Brits in a third of the country in Tier 4 have been told not to meet anyone else this Christmas Day and to stay within their own household bubbles to limit the spread.
People outside of the top level of restrictions are allowed to form a bubble with up to three other households – but just for 24 hours on Christmas Day.
However, everyone has already been told to cut down their Christmas plans, and to not travel or meet too many other people.
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