The UK has recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since May as the total deaths involving Covid-19 in the country reached 61,000.
A further 367 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, the UK Government said, while there were another 22,885 lab-confirmed cases.
The number of deaths is the highest daily figure since May 27, when 422 deaths were reported.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, warned that the rising death toll from Covid-19 was likely to “continue for some time”.
She said: “We continue to see the trend in deaths rising and it is likely this will continue for some time.
“Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing.
“Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths.
“We can help to control this virus. We know that by washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering and socially distancing we can save lives by slowing the spread of the virus.”
It comes amid speculation that West Yorkshire in England will be moved into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, while Nottingham is set to face the stringent measures on Thursday.
More than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.
Warrington entered Tier 3 on Tuesday, meaning pubs and bars in the Cheshire town must close unless they serve substantial meals.
Households are also banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens, while betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres have been shut.
The North-South divide in the tier system has sparked concern among Tory MPs, with the newly-formed Northern Research Group writing to the UK Prime Minister to express their fears.
The group, led by former northern powerhouse minister Jake Berry, urged Boris Johnson to provide a “clear road map” out of lockdown restrictions.
Mr Berry said: “Our constituents have been some of the hardest hit by this virus with many losing jobs, businesses, and livelihoods.
“Never has there been a more pertinent and urgent political and economic case to support people living in the North.
“However, instead of moving forwards on our shared ambitions, the cost of Covid and the virus itself threatens to send the North into reverse.”
The ex-minister insisted he was not leading a “revolt” against Mr Johnson, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t know how it can be a revolt for northern MPs to write to the Prime Minister to ask to work with him on delivering his exciting manifesto that he has a mandate for from December 2019.”
The northern seats were instrumental in Mr Johnson’s election victory as the so-called “Red Wall” in former Labour heartlands crumbled.
With Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire already in Tier 3, the latest changes will mean 8.2 million people in England living with major curbs on their freedoms.
In other developments:
– Research by Imperial College London estimated that more than 95% of England’s population is unlikely to have the antibodies needed to protect them from coronavirus, and there is a possible decrease in immunity over time after infection.
– Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, whose brother Bill died with Covid-19, has backed the idea of a fourth tier of restrictions, telling BBC Breakfast: “If anything was required to bring it down faster I would do that.”
– Lanarkshire is being considered for the highest level of coronavirus restrictions under the new tiered system in Scotland, with the potential for travel restrictions and hospitality businesses closing.
– People who have been on holiday have similar rates of Covid-19 infection to those who have not, according to the latest data from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).