Covid infections rose by three per cent in a week for the second consecutive day as Department of Health bosses reported a further 29,520 infections, a 3.17 per cent on last Saturday’s figure of 28,612.
The number of people dying with the virus has decreased to 93. The number of victims decreased 9.7 per cent from 103 last Saturday.
There were a further 880 patients admitted to hospital today, with a total of 5,875 people in hospital currently. 713
Britain’s total infections have now risen up to 6,241,011 , while 154,202 people who have tested positive have lost their life to the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Britain’s daily Covid cases rose just 2.8 per cent in a week yesterday amid mounting evidence that the fall in infections was merely a temporary blip. Deaths also increased slightly to 100, up 8.7 per cent on last week.
But in a more promising sign, hospitalisations fell today after seeing a slight uptick in admissions over the past few days. The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid dropped 3.6 per cent to 750 on Monday — the latest date nationwide data is available for.
Meanwhile, No10’s top scientific advisers claimed England’s R rate has dipped below one for the first time in three months.
The UK Health Security Agency estimates the reproduction rate, which reflects how quickly the virus is spreading, is between 0.8 and 1.0. Last week’s figure was thought to be as high as 1.1.
But it is a lagging indicator and reflects the situation the country faced three weeks ago, when Covid cases began to shrink naturally. Since then, however, the outbreak has started to tick upwards once again, which some experts have blamed on the delayed effects of ‘Freedom Day’.
More proof England’s third wave is no longer fizzling out came from a major Covid surveillance study today, which estimated infections levelled off last week.
The Office for National Statistics, which carries out tens of thousands of random swab tests, said one in 75 people were carrying the virus on any given day in the seven-day spell ending August 6.
This was the equivalent of 726,700 people and was up slightly on the week before, suggesting the dip in infections seen throughout the end of July was only a temporary blip.
While the proportion of people testing positive in England ‘continued to be high’ at around 1.32 per cent, the ONS estimates suggest an ‘overall decreasing trend over the past two weeks’.
But the figures come amid fears that this weekend will pose one of the biggest ‘tests’ since last month’s Freedom Day, with 1.7million people expected to attend mass gatherings to watch sporting events and music festivals – the largest number since the first lockdown last March.
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The number of people testing positive for Covid after returning from the Mediterranean hotspot has risen almost six-fold in the space of a month, figures released today show.
Around one-in-35, or 2.9 per cent of those entering Britain from the amber list country in July tested positive, up from 0.9 per cent in June as the number of those tested doubled.
That rate is almost double that of returnees from Greece and Portugal, which are also on the amber list.
Crowds will gather in the largest numbers for Premier League matches, England’s cricket match against India at Lord’s and the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Public Health England officials warned those attending events to arrive early or late to avoid big crowds and wear a mask in crowded places.
UKHSA’s estimate of the R rate suggested the figure may be as low as 0.8 in every region of the country.
But it may still be above one in the East of England and the South West, according to the weekly update.
If the figure — the average amount of people every infected patient passes the virus on to — is below one, it means infections are shrinking.
The R rate is, however, a lagging indicator and does not reflect the situation currently because it is based on a wide mix of data, including deaths – which reflect how quickly the virus was spreading weeks before.
Ministers once put the R rate at the heart of their Covid battle plan.
But it is now less crucial because scientists care more about both hospitalisation and death rates, given the country’s massively successful vaccination roll-out.
Meanwhile, the gold-standard ONS data – which is used by ministers to track the state of the outbreak – showed infection levels in England had started to level off again.
Covid was most prevalent in Northern Ireland, with one in 55 people (1.88 per cent) infected on any given day last week.
Scotland saw a drop in people testing positive, with one in 190 people having the virus (0.53 per cent).
Infection levels stayed low in Wales, where just one in every 220 people were infected (0.46 per cent). But the ONS statisticians claimed it was unclear whether cases were going up or down.
Within England, prevalence rates fell in the North East, North West, West Midlands and London.
The proportion of people infected with Covid rose the fastest in 16 to 24-year-olds, where 3.2 per cent tested positive up to August 6, compared to 2.5 per cent the week before.
Cases also went up in children aged between 2 and 11, jumping from 1.8 to 2.1 per cent, and in 25 to 34-year-olds, where 1.4 per cent tested positive, compared to 1.3 per cent seven days earlier.
Meanwhile, infection levels plateaued in children aged 12 to 15 (3.4 per cent), and over-35s.
But the ONS figures are also a lagging indicator due to how the estimates are made. People can test positive for several weeks after getting infected.
Whereas official daily figures look at new cases, and offer the most up-to-date view of the true state of the outbreak.
Department of Health statistics show cases have been creeping upwards over the past week, with 33,074 positive tests recorded yesterday – a 9.5 per cent rise on the figure from seven days earlier (30,215).
Experts are confused over what will happen next, but believe cases will rise in September when children go back to school.
It comes as up to 1.7milllion Britons are set to gather this weekend to watch football matches and attend festivals, music concerts and the theatre.
And venues are not required to check whether people are jabbed or have taken a negative Covid test – a rule that doesn’t kick in until October.
Nearly 400,000 fans will be attending 10 Premier League matches in England and 85,000 more will be going to cup and league games in England, Scotland and Wales, the i reported.
Other events sure to draw a crowd include England’s test match against India at Lords and the Edinburgh Fringe festival. In addition to these events, around 300,000 people will be going to other arts and music festivals,
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: ‘The football season is back underway, and I know many people are excited to be back in a ground for the first time in 18 months.
‘Everyone should be able to go to a sporting event, have fun and enjoy it safely.
‘However, Covid has not gone away and there are a few things we can all do to reduce the risk. You might want to arrive early or late to help avoid large crowds and wear a mask particularly in enclosed and crowded spaces.’
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