Friday, 30 Jul 2021

UK records highest death toll in six months and 20,000 new cases

Another 20,018 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the Department of Health announced tonight.

The latest figures brings the nation’s total cases since the start of the pandemic to 1,073,882.

A further 397 people have died within 28 days of testing positive, leaving the official death toll at 47,250.

Today marks the highest number of fatalities since May 7, when 459 people were confirmed dead.

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However separate data from the UK’s statistics agencies where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional on recent fatalities, suggests the total toll could be just under 63,000.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics released earlier today show the number of weekly coronavirus deaths has jumped by 45% in one week.

It said 978 deaths were recorded where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate in the week ending October 23, compared to 670 in the previous seven days.

Deaths have risen for their seventh week in a row, reaching their highest level since June 12.

England prepares to enter another national lockdown from Thursday, as the Government seeks to flatten the second wave.

Boris Johnson told the Commons yesterday that he had ‘no alternative’ but to reimpose the sweeping measures, amid warnings of deaths being twice as high over the winter than the first wave.

MPs are set to debate and vote on the new law tomorrow and a number of backbench Tories are expected to rebel against the Government.

On Friday, the Government’s SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) committee said the R number – measuring the speed at which Covid-19 reproduces – was between 1.1 and 1.3.

This means every 10 carriers will go on to infect between 11 and 13 people.

However fresh data from the King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Tracker app suggests the R number could have dropped to 1. A rate below this would mean the virus is in decline.

From Friday, anyone living or working in Liverpool will be offered weekly rapid turnaround Covid-19 tests, signalling the first major step of the Government’s ‘Operation Moonshot’ scheme.

The aim of the pilot is to find asymptomatic cases so test and tracers can inform more people to self-isolate in a bid to help prevent and reduce transmission in the community.

Liverpool, which has been under tier three local restrictions for almost three weeks, has one of the highest coronavirus rates in the country with intensive care units almost at capacity.

It recorded 366.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to October 29.

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