The number of weekly COVID-19 deaths has risen above 1,000 in England and Wales for the first time since June, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
The 1,379 deaths registered in the week ending 30 October is the highest weekly number of deaths involving COVID-19 since the week ending 5 June.
It is up 41% from the 978 deaths in the week to 23 October.
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Every region in England saw the amount of registered deaths involving COVID-19 increasing week-on-week, the figures also reveal.
The worst-hit region in the week to 30 October was the North West, which had seen several of its local authorities placed into strict regional restrictions designed to reduce the coronavirus’s spread before all of England was put into a new lockdown.
It had 445 deaths registered, the worst toll there since the week ending 15 May, the ONS said.
Yorkshire and the Humber had 204 deaths registered, the most since 5 June, while the North East had 118, the highest amount since 29 May.
The UK government has recorded 49,238 fatalities of people who tested positive for coronavirus within 28 days before their death. It also tallies 60,051 deaths that mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate.
Earlier on Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said there was a possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available by Christmas.
He told Sky News: “I’ve asked the NHS who are supported by the armed services in this – but the NHS very much leading this effort for deploying the vaccine – I’ve asked them to be ready from the start of December.
“And, of course, there are many hurdles that still need to be gone over and we haven’t seen the full safety data and obviously that is critical and we won’t deploy a vaccine unless we can be confident in its clinical safety.
“But we also do need to be ready should a vaccine be licensed and get through all those hurdles and ready to roll it out.”
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