The UK has recorded 203 more coronavirus-related deaths and 31,564 new cases in the latest 24-hour period, with the number of COVID patients in hospital now at 7,731.

The latest figures from the government compare with 36,100 infections and 49 fatalities reported on Monday.

This time last week, 26,628 cases and 185 deaths were announced.

Since the start of the pandemic, 135,455 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

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Today’s figure is only the fourth time the number of daily deaths has been higher than 200 since 9 March this year.

Another 24,684 people were given their first dose of a COVID vaccine on Monday, taking the total to 48,617,703 (89.4% of over-16s in the UK).

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A further 46,451 people were given their second jab, meaning 44,512,572 are now fully inoculated (81.9%).

It comes as the prime minister said cancelling Christmas is ‘very much not the plan’.

Facing the prospects of another COVID spike and a turkey shortage, Boris Johnson has said the government does not “expect anything like last Christmas”.

He admitted there could be some problems with supply chains affecting Christmas dinners, but he is keen to at least make sure families can spend time together.

He pointed towards the booster programme – which the government hopes will keep cases under control – and the Plan B of measures, such as reintroducing face masks.

The latest count of coronavirus related deaths in America could surpass the death toll of the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Boris Johnson says that supply chains are secure, and that the CO2 shortage and gas price spike ‘can be smoothed over’.

Approximately 675,000 people have died from COVID in the US, with numbers still running at more than 1,900 a day.

Modelling predicts roughly 100,000 more Americans will die of COVID by 1 January.

The Spanish flu is estimated to have killed 675,000 Americans in a population one-third of the size of today.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson told Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to “get the AstraZeneca vaccine” in an awkward exchange with the unvaccinated South American leader.

During a meeting, he told the leader AstraZeneca is a “great vaccine”.

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Over the weekend, it was revealed two of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing have refused the coronavirus vaccine. Now, it appears a third is also unvaccinated, the Sun has reported.

The paper said the issue has “created even further resentment” among stars and crew on the show, with producers now worried about an outbreak on the next series.

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