SEVEN further hospital deaths and more than 1,100 more cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Dorset over the weekend.

The shocking statistics have been revealed as the death toll and number of positive cases soar across the UK.

All seven deaths were recorded in University Hospitals Dorset, which covers the former Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust and Poole Hospital.

The total within the newly-formed trust now stands at 284.

Two of the deaths were reported yesterday with five on Saturday. An additional five were reported on New Year’s Day.

There have also been a total of 32 deaths within the Dorset Healthcare University Trust and 30 at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

Nearly 700 cases positive Covid-19 tests were reported in Dorset and the New Forest on Saturday. There were a further 585 yesterday.

Government figures released yesterday afternoon reveal there have been a total of 19,358 cases in the Dorset and New Forest area since the start of the pandemic.

There were a further 792 cases in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole over the weekend bringing the total there to 11,186. The infection rate per 100,000 population is 389.5.

In the Dorset Council area the rate is 196.6 per 100,000 after 312 more cases brought the total to 5,160.

The New Forest saw a further 160 cases, with a total of 3,102 and an infection rate of 237.1.

Infection rates and deaths across the UK continue to rise with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that Covid-19 restrictions could become even tougher.

Yesterday he said parents should send primary-age children back to schools that are open this week, but he hinted at tougher coronavirus measures for England.

The Prime Minister said he has “no doubt” that classrooms are safe and that the risk to young people was “very, very small” amid calls from teaching unions to close all schools for the next two weeks.

But Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer has called for a national lockdown to be introduced within 24 hours.

Primary school pupils were due to return to the classroom today with the exception of areas with particularly high infection rates in London and the south east.

Secondary school pupils in exam years - Year 11 and 13 - are due to return to the classroom next week with other year groups set to follow on January 18.