THE number of UK coronavirus deaths in 24 hours hit its highest total so far.

Health authorities revealed that 980 people who had contracted the illness had died in the 24 hours leading up to 9am today.

The total now sits at 8,958.

The day before, the figure had increased by 881.

NHS data released at 2pm today showed that six further deaths have been recorded in Sussex hospital trusts in 24 hours, taking the total to 166.

Two further people who were being treated at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust sites, which include the Royal Sussex County Hospital, were confirmed to have died.

The Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust, which has sites in Chichester, Worthing and Shoreham, also recorded two more deaths.

The final two deaths to be confirmed in the county in the daily update were registered at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust sites.

The NHS trust runs hospitals in Eastbourne, Bexhill, Rye and St Leonards.

These figures do not include deaths outside hospital, such as those in care homes.