UK reports highest ever daily coronavirus cases since start of pandemic

LONDON, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Another 26,688 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, the highest daily increase ever since the pandemic began in the country, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country reached 789,229, while the coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 191 to 44,158, the data showed.

Meanwhile, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Wednesday that restrictions put in place two weeks ago in the region are extended for another week and the region will bring in a new tiered coronavirus system.

The restrictive measures in Scotland, which have seen the closure of many hospitality businesses, had been due to end on Oct. 25.

"The extension allows us to transition more smoothly to the new levels system that we hope will be introduced on 2 November," she said.

Details would be published on Friday and the measures implemented from Nov. 2, according to Sturgeon.

The new three-tier COVID-19 alert system set out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came into force last week across England as the country struggles to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The alert system comprises three levels: "Medium", "High" and "Very High" with the level being decided according to local infection rates.

Earlier Wednesday, the British Department of Health and Social Care announced that South Yorkshire, a metropolitan county in north-central England, will move its local COVID-19 alert level from "High" to "Very High", the top restriction level, from Saturday.

Under the new restrictive measures, people must not socialize with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events, said the department.

They must not socialize in a group of more than six in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.

Meanwhile, all pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals. Betting shops, adult gaming centers, casinos and soft play centers also must close.

To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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