London, Jan 2 : Another 53,285 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 2,542,065, according to official figures released on Friday.
Another 613 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 74,125, the data showed, Xinhua news agency reported.
The latest figures were revealed as British government advisers urged making the wearing of face masks mandatory in workplaces, schools and crowded outdoor spaces to help control the new Covid-19 variant, which is said to be 70 per cent more transmissible.
According to figures from the British Office of National Statistics, the new virus strain could make up 63 per cent of cases in England and 77 per cent in London.
Social distancing and hygiene measures will need a “step change in rigour” to compensate for the “significantly increased transmission risk” associated with the variant, according to a report by the behavioural science group that reports to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
London and many other parts of England have already been under the highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions.
In Tier Four areas, people are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas. People should also not mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.
The SAGE has urged all regions of England to be placed in Tier Four restrictions.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the US are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.