NEWPORT - NOVEMBER 16: A general view of Welsh Ambulance Service in the process of transferring a baby requiring specialist care to the Grange University Hospital, where the photographer works transporting non-emergency patients, on November 16, 2020 in Newport, Wales. The ??350m hospital will provide services including accident and emergency, intensive care and major surgery to patients living across Gwent and south Powys in South Wales. It has opened 4 months ahead of schedule, as the NHS faces a second wave of coronavirus cases. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

Medics in Newport, Wales, are working hard to cope with a surge in patients (Picture: Getty Images)

The UK has recorded another 398 coronavirus deaths – its highest Sunday toll in seven months. 

A further 18,662 cases were also reported, bringing the country’s respective totals to 55,024 and 1,512,045. Separate figures suggest there have been 63,873 deaths in which Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate. 

The last time the death toll was this high on a Sunday was April 19, when 432 deaths were reported. For the last four Sundays, each day’s total has been just above the 150 mark. The number of deaths reported at the weekend tends to be lower because of a lag in reporting figures, while the government said a ‘processing error’ also increased today’s total.

It comes as England was told it would emerge from lockdown on December 2, as planned. Further details are set to be announced tomorrow, when the government is expected to confirm a return to a localised tier system, with tougher restrictions. 

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The Government said today’s data included 141 previously published deaths within 28 days in England that were excluded from the published data yesterday due to a ‘processing update’.

Earlier today, NHS England reported a further 222 deaths in the country’s hospitals. 

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s death toll is edging closer to 1,000 and its case total 50,000, after a further 10 Covid-19 deaths and 342 cases were reported.

The current totals stand at 933 and 49,784 respectively. 

Wales has reported 808 new cases of coronavirus, taking its total since the pandemic began to 72,341. 

The Department for Health also recorded 11 new deaths, meaning the toll rises to 2,376. 

In Scotland, similar figures were also reported on Sunday, with a further 844 new cases and seven deaths. 

That brings the respective totals to 88,361 and 3,503 respectively.  

Back in England, the public was told it could expect lockdown to end within a fortnight, with the 10pm pub curfew likely to be scrapped. 

But those in the toughest tiers under the revised system have been warned that normal life will not return until at least Easter, despite promising signs of a vaccine rollout on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has warned Europe that it could face a third wave of infections if it fails to learn from past mistakes. 

This is a breaking story – more to follow.

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