UK has highest daily virus toll since May

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The United Kingdom has reported 397 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily figure since May 27, as the government prepares to introduce a national lockdown in England to stop a wave of infections threatening the health service.

The UK, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Scientists have warned a worst-case scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded this winter.

Tuesday's figure raised the total number of people who have died in the United Kingdom within 28 days of testing positive for the new coronavirus since the start of the pandemic to 47,250.

After rejecting calls last month for a new national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson U-turned on Saturday, announcing new restrictions across England would begin on Thursday and last until December 2.

Government data showed 20,018 new confirmed cases were reported on Tuesday, up from 18,950 a day earlier.