THERE is "some evidence" the new UK variant of coronavirus could be more deadly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Speaking at a Down Street press briefing this afternoon, the PM said the new variant could be linked to a higher death rate. 

He said: "I must tell you this afternoon that we’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant, the variant that was first identified in London and the South East, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”

At the press conference Mr Johnson said the 38,562 Covid patients in hospital is 78 pe cent higher than in the first peak in April.

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The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: “It’s more important than ever that we all remain vigilant in following the rules and that we stay at home, protect the NHS and thereby save lives.”

He added: “All current evidence continues to show that both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant.”

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And Sir Patrick Vallance said evidence is growing from multiple sources that vaccines will work against the UK coronavirus strain.

The chief scientific advisor told the Downing Street press conference: “There’s increasing evidence from laboratory studies that the variant in the UK will be susceptible to the vaccines.

“There’s increasing confidence coupled with a very important clinical observation that individuals who have been infected previously and have generated antibodies appear to be equally protected against original virus and new variant.”