By Karim El-Bar


LONDON (AA) – The UK recorded on Friday 1,325 COVID-19-related deaths, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic, according to government figures.


The UK also recorded 68,053 COVID-19 cases, also its highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.


The total number of cases in the UK surged to more than 2.95 million and the total number of deaths reached 79,833.


The British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies also announced on Friday an increase in its estimate of the R value to between 1 and 1.4, up from its previous estimate of between 1.1 and 1.3.


The R value shows how quickly coronavirus spreads, with a value of 1.4 meaning for every ten people infected, they go on to infect 14 more.


Meanwhile, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” in the capital due to rising coronavirus cases that were “putting immense pressure on an already stretched NHS [National Health Service].”


Khan said he was “declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point.”


“It’s like a theatre of war,” he told Sky News. “Unless we reduce the spread, the NHS will run out of beds.”


“I’ve never been more concerned than I am now,” he added.


Friday also saw the UK’s medicines regulator approve the Moderna vaccine for use.


It’s the third approved vaccine, joining those by Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-Astra Zeneca.


The UK government had already ordered 7 million doses, and has now ordered a further 10 million doses.


They will not become available until March, according to local media, as the vaccine will produced in the US first before doing so in Europe.

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