LONDON

Britain on Friday reported 355 more fatalities and 23,287 new daily coronavirus cases, according to data published by health authorities.

The new figures came a day before the first weekend into the second national lockdown, bringing the total number of deaths within the past week to 2,246 with a 35.5% increase from the previous week.

The number of new infections has also climbed to 156,742 in the past week.

Meanwhile, the government has started a mass testing pilot scheme in Liverpool.

“Mass testing began in Liverpool today. Anyone is eligible for a test whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, also sharing a video showing a long queue of people waiting outside a testing center.

The government put England on a four-week-long national lockdown from Monday in a bid to stop further spread of the virus.

However, thousands of people have opposed the latest lockdown as they protest the financial consequences.

Approximately 100 people were detained in protests and clashed with the police Thursday night as the annual One Million Mask rally adopted an anti-lockdown theme. More anti-lockdown protests are planned for the weekend.

More than 40 Conservative MPs also took a counter position to the prime minister’s decision to bring in a second lockdown.

In news conference on Thursday at Downing Street, Johnson said “there is light at the end of the tunnel,” urging the public to follow the restrictions.

The race to produce an effective vaccine also continues across the world.

“As the UK enters lockdown 2.0, we’re working harder than ever to develop the Oxford #Covid19 vaccine safely and as quickly as possible,” the University of Oxford, where one of the leading vaccine teams work, tweeted on Thursday.

Johnson tweeted: “Thank you to all of our brilliant scientists at @UniOfOxford, @AstraZeneca & across the UK who are working tirelessly to find a vaccine and to all those who have volunteered to take part in a clinical trial. This government – and the whole country – are backing you 100%.”

The number of total COVID-19 deaths stand at 48,475 in the UK, according to official data.

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