Britain on Wednesday reported 529 more COVID-19 fatalities and 19, 609 new infections.

According to data released by health officials, nearly 3000 people lost their lives with the deadly strain over the past 7 days, 11% more than the previous week.

The new infections also rose by 11% when compared with previous week.

In a weekly news conference on Wednesday, government advisers said the R number has dropped after the start of national lockdown in England on Nov. 5 and now it is between 1%-1.2%.

Tough restrictions on socializing are still needed before and after Christmas to keep the spread of the virus, Dr Susan Hopkins said.

Hopkins said that she was keen for Christmas to be “as normal as possible” but any increase in infection rate will be followed by more restrictions.

She said: “We are very keen that we have Christmas as close to normal as possible.

“That requires all of us to make every effort over this national restriction period, and even in early December, to get the cases as low as possible and to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families,” she said, adding that a final decision on families and friends mixing over Christmas lay with the government.”

The total number of deaths in coronavirus pandemic stands at 53,274, according to official figures.

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