The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in mid and south Essex has increased by a third in the past week.

NHS England data shows there were 135 Covid patients at Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals as of Tuesday (December 14).

That was up from 98 the same time the week before.

A total of 13 of the Covid patients at the Mid and South Essex Hospitals Trusts are on ventilators, the figures show.

The latest data comes as a further five Covid deaths have been recorded in Southend this week.

It takes the overall number of Covid-related deaths in the borough to 649.

The weekly death toll has also increase by one compared to the same time last Friday.

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Basildon has also recorded four new coronavirus deaths this week, taking its overall total to 563.

The figures include anyone who died within 28 days of a positive test result for Covid-19, and whose usual residence was in Basildon or Southend.

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death.

It comes as a new study has show more than a third of adults do not believe life will return to normal within a year.

Some 39% of adults do not expect life to be back to normal for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is more than twice the proportion (18%) in December 2020.

About 7% expect life to return to normal in less than six months – down from 28% last December.

The ONS analysed responses from 3,276 adults in Britain between December 1 and 12 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle survey on the social impacts of Covid-19.

Measures were introduced during this period in response to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

These include making face coverings mandatory in most indoor public areas, such as shops and transport, asking people to work from home where possible, and extending the booster programme to younger adults.

Across the UK, certain venues and events are now legally required to check that visitors over the age of 18 have received vaccine doses or have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours.