Britain on Thursday reported 22,915 new coronavirus infections and 501 new fatalities from the deadly strain.

The number of people tested positive in a week reached 163,061 with a 2.4% drop but the number of deaths in the same week stands at 2, 847 with a 1.4 % increase.

Most of the UK is under strict restrictions for the past weeks, with England under a second national lockdown since Nov. 5.

Non-essential shops, cinema theatres and gyms are closed as well as pubs, and restaurants, which are allowed to give takeaway services.

Schools have remained open despite the lockdown but the government is weighing, giving thousands of university students a time window after the lockdown ends on Dec. 2.

The discussions on whether the British public would be allowed to hold family gatherings during the festive season continues as health officials and government advisers say the decision will be made by the government.

The R number (the number of people one infected person will pass on a virus to) has gone down slightly, according to advisers, to somewhere between 1% and 1.2% since the start of the lockdown, during which the government advised against all unnecessary travels.

The total number of virus-related deaths has reached 53,775, the worst across Europe.

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