LIVE updates as UK records 35,928 positive coronavirus cases

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Almost 36,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the UK on Sunday as a new Tier 4 Covid alert level comes into force in parts of South East England.

Government figures released on Sunday, December 20 confirmed that 35,928 new positive tests for coronavirus were reported – with Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, saying the “sharp and sudden increase” is of serious concern.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that new Tier 4 restrictions – which order people to stay at home in areas with rapidly rising levels of Covid-19 infections – would come into play across large parts of South East England, while the Christmas bubble rules set out for the rest of the country would also be changing.

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Up to three households may still form a Christmas bubble outside Tier 4 areas, but can only now meet on Christmas Day (December 25) instead of over a five-day period from December 23.

He made the announcements on Saturday.