The official coronavirus death toll in the UK last night stood at 57,551 after 521 deaths were confirmed across all settings.
This month, the UK only became the fifth country to record 50,000 deaths linked to Covid-19, after the United States, Brazil, Mexico and India.
A week ago, 391 deaths linked to Covid-19 were recorded in British hospitals, while a month ago, on October 28, the figure was 248.
Today, Royal Stoke University Hospital declared a ‘major incident’, with 38 coronavirus patients in ventilation beds.
The latest figures from the Department of Health showed that across the UK 16,064 patients are hospitalized with the virus, including 1,456 in ventilation beds.
The government has said the tier system – which comes into effect when England emerges from the lockdown on Wednesday – is essential to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Earlier today, Boris Johnson appointed Conservative Minister Nadhim Zahawi to oversee the deployment of the coronavirus vaccine.
The move, announced by Downing Street this morning, comes after hospital bosses were told a shot could be available in just nine days.
NHS staff are expected to be the first to receive the vaccine, with officials saying hospitals in England could receive their first delivery of the Pfizer -BionTech vaccine around December 7.
This vaccine, which was initially found to be 95% effective, must be stored at extremely low temperatures, posing a logistical challenge for its safe distribution.
Downing Street said in a statement: “The Queen was delighted to approve the appointment of Nadhim Zahawi, Member of Parliament as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Welfare.
“He remains Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. ”
Mr Zahawi will focus on rolling out the coronavirus vaccine, with the temporary arrangement expected to last at least until next summer.
He will report to Health Secretary Matt Hancock with a primary focus on vaccine deployment, although he will retain some of his business responsibilities.