Another 1,715 people have tested positive for coronavirus today in the biggest daily rise in 12 weeks.
The last time Britain’s daily case load was this high was on June 4, when 1,805 people were diagnosed in just 24 hours.
Today’s disturbing increase brings the country’s total cases to 334,467.
But, in a positive sign, the country’s death toll is remaining low as just one person died after testing positive for the disease bringing the UK’s total fatalities during the pandemic to 41,499.
Figures on Sunday are usually smaller due to a delay in processing over the weekend.
Another 1,715 people have tested positive for coronavirus today in the biggest daily rise in 12 weeks
But, in a positive sign, the country’s death toll is remaining low as just one person died after testing positive for the disease bringing the UK’s total fatalities during the pandemic to 41,499
There were no new deaths in Scotland for the fourth consecutive day. Wales and Northern Ireland each had no new fatalities for the third straight day.
Scotland reported 123 new cases, taking the total number of positive infections to 20,318.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the public not to be alarmed as the number of people in hospital due to Covid-19 rose by three to 258, with five people in intensive care, a rise of two from the previous day.
But she did add that the cases would be carefully examined and were of course ‘a worry.’
‘123 Covid cases reported today,’ she tweeted. ‘The circumstances and any connections/patterns are being closely examined, and Test & Protect is working hard to break transmission chains. While the increase is of course a worry, it is important to note that the positivity rate remains below 1%.’
Another 49 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours, the nation’s Department of Health said. No new deaths were reported, leaving the total at 560.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the public not to be alarmed as the number of people in hospital due to Covid-19 rose by three to 258
It comes after the Health Secretary has warned that nationwide restrictions cannot be ruled out should England see a spike in coronavirus cases this winter.
Matt Hancock also hinted that restrictions may not be eased over Christmas to avoid an ‘uptick’ in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Speaking to The Times, Mr Hancock said countries in others parts of the world were already experiencing a second wave, adding it was ‘a very serious threat’.
But he said the UK was managing to keep the number of new cases ‘flat’ through the test and trace system and local lockdowns.
Describing the worst-case scenario, he said the UK could be battling bad flu and a growth in coronavirus as people spend more time indoors.
He continued: ‘Cases go up again, and we have to use very extensive local lockdowns or take further national action.
‘We don’t rule that out, but we don’t want to see it.’
BBC’s Newsnight reported that a ‘reasonable worst-case planning assumption’ presented to the Government warned there could be up to 81,000 excess deaths directly attributed to Covid-19 between July and next March.
The broadcaster said the scenario was laid out in a document signed off by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) for the Cabinet Office at the end of July.
It comes after the Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that nationwide restrictions cannot be ruled out should England see a spike in coronavirus cases this winter
His comments come as local Covid-19 restrictions were eased in northern England, which will allow social gatherings between two homes from Wednesday in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
Mr Hancock told The Times that a second wave could be ‘avoidable but it’s not easy’, with schools reopening next week presenting new challenges in stopping the spread of the virus.
In an interview with ITV News, Mr Hancock said: ‘We’re doing a huge amount of planning to make sure that the NHS is prepared and can cope to make sure that people can have as much freedom to enjoy Christmas, to enjoy winter, as possible.’
But when asked whether there will be special rules to allow more people to visit one another over Christmas, Mr Hancock suggested it could lead to a rise in the number of people catching the virus.
‘The danger of a rule like that is that it increases the spread of the disease,’ he said.
‘I mean, there are an awful lot of things I’d love to be able to do, but the risk of them is that we see an uptick in the disease.
‘Hence, we’ve had to take decisions that you wouldn’t ever want to.’