UK Covid-19 deaths have surged by 397 in the largest daily increase since May.

Just days before England is plunged into a second national lockdown 20,018 people tested positive for the killer bug.

The increase brings the total number of fatalities to 47,250.

And the spiralling infection numbers brings the total number of cases to over 1 million, with the milestone being surpassed on Saturday.

England will enter a second national lockdown on Thursday after Boris Johnson issued a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the disease.

The virus is continuing to spread

Yesterday the country recorded the fewest new infections in a fortnight, with 18,950 cases.

Separate Government figures today show there were 10,377 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England on Tuesday, up from 8,171 a week ago, while 952 were in ventilation beds, up from 742 a week ago.

A total of 1,280 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England on Sunday, the latest figure available, compared with 1,186 a week earlier.

Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer said that the North East is the only part of the country which is close to getting coronavirus under control.

England is set for a second national lockdown from Thursday

As lockdown looms, Professor Chris Whitty told MPs: “There is some evidence of some slowing in the North East."

And despite the rising numbers, data from the Covid Symptom Tracker app, run by King's College London (KCL), appears to show a drop in new Covid-19 infections across the UK.

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the app study, said on Twitter today there had been a “slight fall”.

He said: "More good news as the Zoe CSS app survey continues to show a plateauing and slight fall in new cases in England, Wales and Scotland with an R of 1.0."

The death toll has risen again

R, the term used for the reproduction number, represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person infects.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak is growing exponentially, but if it goes below 1, it means the outbreak is shrinking.

In total, 63,000 deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate have been recorded since the onset of the pandemic.

Households in England are preparing to be put back under strict lockdown restrictions from midnight on Thursday.

The laws, set to run until December 2, will see travel banned and all-but-essential businesses told to close.