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More than 100,000 COVID cases recorded in England for second week in a row

Connor Parker
·4-min read
The number of coronavirus cases in England continues to rise as the government resists calls for a second national lockdown. (PA)
The number of coronavirus cases in England continues to rise as the government resists calls for a second national lockdown. (PA)

Over 100,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in England for the second week in a row, the latest figures show.

A total of 126,065 people tested positive for COVID-19 in England at least once in the week to 21 October.

This is an increase of 23% in positive cases on the previous week where 101,494 cases were recorded and is the highest weekly number since NHS Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

The latest figures also showed some 60.3% of close contacts of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in England were reached through the test and trace system in the week ending 21 October , according to the latest figures.

Watch: Robert Jenrick: Still no plan for national lockdown

This is up very slightly from 60.0% in the previous week, which was the lowest weekly percentage since Test and Trace began.

For cases managed by local health protection teams, 97.0% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to 21 October.

For cases managed either online or by call centres, 58.1% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

Just 22.6% of people who were tested for COVID-19 in England in the week ending 21 October at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is up from 13.7% in the previous week.

Read more: COVID vaccine in 'last mile' of development and 'could be rolled out before Christmas'

Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

The news comes as a study found almost 100,000 people per day were getting infected with coronavirus.

Interim data from round six of the Imperial College London React-1 study estimated there are around 96,000 new infections per day.

The study also found early signs that numbers in low-risk areas are following trends observed in the worst-affected regions.

More and more areas of England are being moved up from Tier 1 to Tier 2. (PA)
More and more areas of England are being moved up from Tier 1 to Tier 2. (PA)

The authors said the nation was at a “critical stage” in the fight against the virus and urged the government to change course.

The React-1 study is highly influential because it offers the most up to date assessment of the pandemic in the country.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said: "We are in a critical period of the second wave of the epidemic.

"We are seeing an increasing rate in the virus in all regions.

"Whatever is happening – be it behaviour (of the public) or implementation of current policy – it has not been sufficient to turn down that rate of increase."

The government has rejected another national lockdown and has said it is committed to its regional approach.

This is despite both France and Germany moving to introduce national lockdowns nearly as harsh as the ones since in March on Wednesday.

Several top scientists have also said the government must change course and introduce harsher measures because the regional lockdown plan did not go far enough and the NHS risked being overwhelmed.

Read more: NHS Covid-19 app update removes ‘ghost’ notification bug

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick acknowledged that coronavirus rates are in a “bad place”all over the country but added that the government is resisting another national lockdown.

Sir Mark Walport, CEO of UK Research and Innovation told BBC 5 Live he believed another national lockdown was “quite likely.”

He acknowledged the government was stuck between a “rock and a very hard place” due to the negative effects of lockdowns on the economy and people’s mental and physical health.

Old Market Square in Nottingham ahead of the city moving into the Tier 3 alert level from 0001 on Friday.
Old Market Square in Nottingham ahead of the city moving into the Tier 3. (PA)

Sir Mark said: “The danger is we have a compromise that sorts out neither the epidemic of the economy and that would be the worst outcome of all of this.”

Home secretary Priti Patel said the government can rule nothing out when it comes to coronavirus restrictions – including a national lockdown.

Asked if she would rule out another national lockdown, she said: “Well I think at this stage of course we can rule nothing out because we are a government that is focused on making sure that we stop the spread of this virus, and also we protect public health.

“So we have been using, and we are using and we will continue to use, every single means available to us to do exactly that.”

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