UK coronavirus cases hit 1.5million but 18,662 daily toll is lowest in over a month as 398 more die from deadly virus

UK CORONAVIRUS cases in today hit a landmark 1.5million as 398 more people lost their lives to the disease.

However, 18,662 more people tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours – which is the lowest daily increase in over a month.

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Today's case figure is lower than yesterday's rise of 19,875, suggesting the peak of the second wave is flattening.

And it is a 19.5 per cent drop from the previous seven days.

The last time the daily toll dipped below 18,662 was over a month ago on October 18 with 16,982 cases – before the second national lockdown was put in place.

It comes as:

  • Tougher three-tier lockdown rules to be revealed as part of Boris' Covid Winter Plan
  • He will announce the plans for post-lockdown England tomorrow in an address to the nation
  • Rishi Sunak has hinted he will hike taxes by spring to tackle Britain's mounting Covid debt
  • The 10pm curfew will be scrapped and pubs and restaurants will now close at 11pm under new plans
  • Brits will be given special 'freedom passes' to live normal lives if they have two negative Covid tests a week

The total number of cases now stands at 1,512,045 since the pandemic tore through the globe in March.

The Department of Health also confirmed today 398 more people have died – bringing the total number of deaths to 55,024

Today's figure is higher than yesterday when 341 died in the lowest Saturday rise this month.

In England, 222 more deaths were recorded – bringing the total number of deaths in hospital to 38,334.

A further 11 people died in Wales – with their total now at 2,376.

In Scotland, seven more lost their lives – bringing the total to 3,503.

While in Northern Ireland, ten more deaths were reported with their total now at 933.

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to address the nation tomorrow to unveil tougher tier rules when England leaves lockdown on December 2.

The proposed plans will include a strengthened set of regional restrictions as No 10 fears the virus “could quickly run out of control again”.

It is not clear what Tier 1 rules will be – with the "rule of six" and 10pm curfew originally slapped on those living in medium-risk areas.

But under the ramped-up Tier 2 and 3 rules, millions of Brits will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, The Sunday Times reports.

It could also mean some areas facing fresh measures such as extra travel bans and curbs on overnight stays.

There will be a brief reprieve for up to five days over Christmas to allow families to celebrate together before they are plunged into the tough restrictions in the new year.

Beauty salons, gyms and hairdressers are also expected to open in this time for a "morale boost".

And in a boost for the struggling high street, all shops will remain open when lockdown ends – even if they're in the strictest tiers.

Brits could also be given special 'freedom passes' to allow them to live a relatively normal life – if they have two negative Covid tests a week.

Boris is said to also be calling time on the controversial 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

He instead plans to extend opening hours until 11pm – with the hope this will stop revellers congregating in crowds on the streets.

A No 10 spokesman said last night: “Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased NHS pressures.

“But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisers are clear the virus is still present and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

“That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made.”

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