COVID-19: UK records 31,564 new cases and 203 more deaths - with 7,731 patients in hospital
21 September 2021, 14:51 | Updated: 22 September 2021, 01:57
The UK has recorded 203 more coronavirus-related deaths and 31,564 new cases in the latest 24-hour period, with the number of COVID patients in hospital now at 7,731.
The latest figures from the government compare with 36,100 infections and 49 fatalities reported on Monday.
This time last week, 26,628 cases and 185 deaths were announced.
On this day last year, there were 1,558 COVID patients reported in hospital across the UK.
The number of patients in mechanical ventilation beds currently stands at 982.
Since the start of the pandemic, 135,455 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
Today's fatality figure is only the fourth time the number of daily deaths has been higher than 200 since 9 March this year.
Another 24,684 people were given their first dose of a COVID vaccine on Monday, taking the total to 48,617,703 (89.4% of over-16s in the UK).
A further 46,451 people were given their second jab, meaning 44,512,572 are now fully inoculated (81.9%).
It comes as the prime minister said cancelling Christmas is 'very much not the plan'.
Facing the prospects of another COVID spike and a turkey shortage, Boris Johnson has said the government does not "expect anything like last Christmas".
He admitted there could be some problems with supply chains affecting Christmas dinners, but he is keen to at least make sure families can spend time together.
He pointed towards the booster programme - which the government hopes will keep cases under control - and the 'plan B' of measures, such as reintroducing face masks.
Meanwhile, COVID has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did - approximately 675,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths in the US are still running at more than 1,900 a day. Modelling predicts roughly 100,000 more Americans will die with coronavirus by 1 January.
In other news, Mr Johnson told Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to "get the AstraZeneca vaccine" in an awkward exchange with the unvaccinated South American leader.
During a meeting, he told the leader that AstraZeneca is a "great vaccine".
Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker.
(c) Sky News 2021: COVID-19: UK records 31,564 new cases and 203 more deaths - with 7,731 patients in hospital