The United Kingdom has recorded another 1243 Covid deaths today as Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched an extraordinary broadside at China for its role in the pandemic.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the grim toll at a press conference this morning, describing the situation as "horrifying".
45,533 positive tests have also been recorded and Johnson has called a Cabinet meeting to discuss tightening lockdown rules.
The number of positive tests is 25 per cent less than this time last week, offering a glimmer of hope to a country facing its darkest days since the pandemic began last year.
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Johnson tweeted a warning to the UK, telling Britons that meeting people outside their bubble put them at "risk of serious disease".
The Prime Minister has also used an environmental speech to world leaders to slam China for its role in the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a speech to the One Planet Summit, Johnson blamed the virus on an "imbalance in man's relationship with the natural world".
"Like the original plague which struck the Greeks I seem to remember in book one of the Iliad, it is a zoonotic disease," Johnson said.
"It originates from bats or pangolins, from the demented belief that if you grind up the scales of a pangolin you will somehow become more potent or whatever it is people believe, it originates from this collision between mankind and the natural world and we've got to stop it."
Johnson's comments have angered the Chinese government, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying: "We've said many times that origin tracing is a scientific matter.
"There is no room, no place, for people making speculations, hyping up - otherwise it will only disrupt international co-operation."