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Top stories this morning 0:00
Ministers have met to discuss how to contain the rising number of coronavirus infections in England.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is “hoping to avoid” another national lockdown in England.
But analysis suggests the R number – which represents how many people each infected person passes the virus onto – has risen above 1 in the UK.
Meanwhile, millions more people in southern England are now living under the toughest Covid restrictions.
Health bosses have warned the NHS is under significant pressure, with nearly 90% of hospital beds in England full.
Government scientists are continuing to evaluate the spread of a new variant of Covid in south-east England as there are “growing concerns” about its transmission.
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