Latest coronavirus figures suggest as many as one in 170 people in England have the virus.
Confirmed cases continue to rise rapidly in the UK as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that between September 25 and October 1 roughly one in 240 people in the community in England had Covid-19, with about 17,200 new cases per day.
Figures have increased sharply from the week between September 18-24, when it was estimated one in every 470 people in the community in England had coronavirus, with about 8,400 new infections per day.
Cases are most prevalent in the north east, north west, and Yorkshire and the Humber, and in older teenagers and young adults, The Guardian reports.
The ONS commented:
The estimate shows the number of infections has increased rapidly in recent weeks.
The second-highest rates are seen in the secondary school – age group.
The React 1 study, led by Imperial College London, uses swabs from about 120,000 to 160,000 randomly selected people in England across 315 local authority areas each month to track the spread of coronavirus.
Analysis of the data for the fifth round of swabbing, conducted between September 18 and October 5, confirmed cases are still rising.
Prof Paul Elliott, an author of the report from Imperial College London, commented:
Our estimate today is that 0.6% of the population, or 60 per 10,000, have [coronavirus] amongst the general population. Even since the previous report, things have gone up even more.
Co-author Prof Steven Riley noted that the fifth round suggested the prevalence across England was about one in 170 people, with 45,000 new infections each day.
The findings come ahead of an expected announcement from prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday with regards to new restrictions in the north of England.
Stricter measures are expected to be enforced next week in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, where cases have continued to rise despite other restrictions. Hospitality businesses are set to be forced to close, though shops, offices and schools are likely to stay open.
Experts are urging Johnson to enforce lockdown measures nationwide, with scientists warning that coronavirus is holding a ‘gun to the head’ of the country.
Local leaders in the north have expressed frustration about being at the centre of local lockdowns, but health minister Nadine Dorries has warned that without further restrictions hospital admissions will be ‘at a critical stage’ in 10 days’ time.
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