The number of lives lost to Covid-19 in UK hospitals has risen by 370.

Health authorities have confirmed 289 deaths in England, 44 in Scotland, 29 in Wales and eight in Northern Ireland.

The UK's official coronavirus death toll last night stood at 57,551 after 521 fatalities were confirmed in all settings.

This month the UK became just the fifth country to pass 50,000 Covid-19 deaths, following the USA, Brazil, Mexico and India.

A week ago, there were 391 Covid-19 deaths registered in UK hospitals, while a month ago, on October 28, that figure was 248.

The number of deaths in UK hospitals continues to rise (file image)

Today the Royal Stoke University Hospital declared a "major incident", with 38 coronavirus patients in ventilator beds.

Latest figures from the Department of Health showed that across the UK there are 16,064 patients in hospital with the virus, of which 1,456 are in ventilator beds.

The government has said that the tier system - which comes back into effect when England comes out of lockdown on Wednesday - is essential to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.

Nadhim Zahawi has been put in charge of the operation to distribute vaccines
Most of the country will enter the toughest tiers once lockdown ends

Earlier today Boris Johnson appointed Tory minister Nadhim Zahawi to oversee the deployment of the coronavirus vaccine.

The move, announced by Downing Street this morning, comes after hospital bosses were reportedly told a jab could be available in just nine days time.

NHS staff are expected to be the first people to be given the vaccine, with officials saying hospitals in England might get their first deliveries of the Pfizer -BionTech jab around December 7.

This vaccine, which was initially found to be 95% effective, needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures - presenting a logistical challenge in distributing it safely.

Downing Street said in a statement: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Nadhim Zahawi MP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care.

"He remains a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy."

Mr Zahawi will focus on the deployment of the coronavirus vaccine, with the temporary arrangement set to last until at least next summer.

He will report to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, with his primary focus on vaccine deployment although he will keep some of his business responsibilities.