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Covid UK: Cases rise 50 PER CENT in a week as hospitalisations and deaths creep up

Britain’s Covid resurgence continued today, according to official data that showed cases, hospitalisations and deaths all rose again.

Another 67,159 positive tests were logged across the UK in the last 24 hours, up 52.6 per cent on last Wednesday.

Deaths within 28 days of a confirmed coronavirus test also increased to 123, up 66.2 per cent on the 74 recorded last week.

And hospital admissions increased to 1,192 on March 5, the latest date UK-wide data is available for, marking a 14.6 per cent rise on the previous week.

It was the third time in a row all three metrics increased week-on-week, after cases started to rise last Wednesday.

Experts believe it is a combination of all restrictions being lifted in England on Freedom Day at the end of February and the rise of a more infectious version of Omicron — although experts insist it is not more deadly than its parent strain.

Hospitalisations are rising in every region of England and are now at record levels in the South West of England, which has typically been hit less hard than other parts of the country.

But NHS data suggests a significant share of Covid hospital patients are not primarily ill with the virus and test positive after admission for something else. 

Virologists from Chinese lab at centre of Covid cover-up claims admit ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ if viruses escape 

Staff at the Chinese laboratory central to questions about the origins of the coronavirus crisis have admitted ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ at facilities housing dangerous viruses. 

In a 2,000-word article published in a scientific journal, two professors at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)  laid out a series of recommendations to avoid spillovers — despite fears that Covid leaked from their own facility.

The journal entry, described as ‘beyond satire’, advocates for ‘sharing and transparency’ between global biolabs and promotes the ‘exchange of samples and information’. 

But British scientists told MailOnline the calls for openness were ironic because Beijing has stifled independent investigations into the Chinese lab’s ties to Covid. 

Writing in the paper, WIV virologists Professors Han Xia and Zhiming Yuan warned that biological threats, whether natural ‘or accidentally or deliberately released’, can ‘endanger lives and disrupt economies worldwide’. 

‘At one level this paper is a well-written, workmanlike review of biosafety level four labs, and the need for them,’ said Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at East Anglia University. ‘At another level it is beyond satire.’

The Wuhan lab — located just 10 miles away from the first confirmed Covid case, at the Huanan seafood market — worked extensively on bat coronaviruses and was known to be experimenting on Covid’s closest known relatives.  

‘The authors don’t mention this,’ Professor Livermore added. ‘Indeed they say nothing of the assertion that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the Wuhan lab. One wonders if the referees or editor raised the topic, or if they thought it ‘bad manners’ to do so.’

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • Staff at the Chinese laboratory central to questions about the origins of the coronavirus crisis have admitted ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ at facilities housing dangerous viruses;
  • Austria suspended mandatory vaccines for all adults saying the pandemic no longer poses the same danger, just weeks after the law took effect;
  • Data suggested the BA.2 has made Hong Kong the deadliest place on earth for Covid since mid-February when deaths soared from just 224 to 2287 within weeks; 
  • Sajid Javid claimed Britons must take more responsibility for their families’ health to protect the NHS as he outlined reforms to the health service to help deal with the backlog.

There were 20,095 third booster doses dished out across the UK yesterday, taking the total number of people fully protected against the virus to 38.4million.

NHS staff, volunteers and private pharmacies also put 4,564 first doses into people’s arms, meaning 52.7million now have at least one jab — 91.6 per cent of the eligible over-12 population.

And 14,655 second doses were given, meaning 49.1million people are now double-jabbed — 85.4 per cent.

Daily testing has been creeping up in the last few days, with more than 705,717 having a swab yesterday, up 8.7 per cent on the 649,222 recorded the week before.  

It comes as MailOnline today revealed that staff at the Chinese laboratory central to questions about the origins of the coronavirus crisis have admitted ‘devastating pandemics can occur’ at facilities housing dangerous viruses.

In a 2,000-word article published in a scientific journal, two professors at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laid out a series of recommendations to avoid spillovers — despite fears that Covid leaked from their own facility.

The journal entry, described as ‘beyond satire’, advocates for ‘sharing and transparency’ between global biolabs and promotes the ‘exchange of samples and information’.

But British scientists told MailOnline the calls for openness were ironic because Beijing has stifled independent investigations into the Chinese lab’s ties to Covid.

Writing in the paper, WIV virologists Professors Han Xia and Zhiming Yuan warned that biological threats, whether natural ‘or accidentally or deliberately released’, can ‘endanger lives and disrupt economies worldwide’.

‘At one level this paper is a well-written, workmanlike review of biosafety level four labs, and the need for them,’ said Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at East Anglia University. ‘At another level it is beyond satire.’

The Wuhan lab — located just 10 miles away from the first confirmed Covid case, at the Huanan seafood market — worked extensively on bat coronaviruses and was known to be experimenting on Covid’s closest known relatives.

‘The authors don’t mention this,’ Professor Livermore added. ‘Indeed they say nothing of the assertion that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the Wuhan lab. One wonders if the referees or editor raised the topic, or if they thought it “bad manners” to do so.’

The ‘lab leak’ theory was initially dismissed as conspiracy at the start of the pandemic in favour of a natural origin, but the hypothesis gained momentum following a series of revelations and cover-ups.

Crucial information about the earliest infected patients was wiped from the Wuhan lab’s database in late 2019 and one of its staff vanished after coming down with a mysterious flu-like illness.

Professor Han and Professor Zhiming declared they had no ‘known competing interests that could have appeared to influence’ their writing. MailOnline has contacted the publisher Elsevier and the Chinese scientists for comment.

But Professor Livermore said: ‘How on earth can Elsevier, who published the paper, allow such nonsense when there are self-evident conflicts?’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk