Number of Brits getting ill with Covid jumps by 45% in a week and Test and Trace reports a fifth more positive swabs – as top expert tells Boris ‘soften lockdown but don’t lift it completely’
- ZOE and King’s College London study estimated there were 4,608 new symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK
- Cases are concentrated in the North West and Scotland, which made up 53 per cent of national infections
- Separate NHS Test and Trace data released today shows cases in England have increased 22 per cent
The number of Britons getting ill with Covid has increased by 45 per cent in a week but increasing cases are ‘very much a regional issue’, a symptom-tracking app warned today.
But cases are concentrated in the North West and Scotland, which made up 53 per cent of national infections and where the R values reached 1.3 and 1.2 respectively according to the study.
Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the study, said the rising case numbers suggest Britain should ‘soften restrictions but not lift them all just yet’ as the June 21 ‘freedom day’ fast approaches.
Meanwhile, separate NHS Test and Trace data released today shows cases in England have increased 22 per cent to 17,162.
It is the highest number of infections recorded by the contact tracing system since the middle of April, as fears surrounding the Indian variant mount.
The number of Britons getting ill with Covid has increased by 45 per cent in a week, according to the ZOE and King’s College London study
NHS Test and Trace data shows 17,162 people tested positive for Covid at least once in England between May 20 and 26, a 22 per cent increase on the previous week
Some 4.5million people were tested at least once between May 20 and 26 for Covid, consistent with the previous week
The ZOE Covid Symptom study relies on reports from more than 700,000 Britons on whether they are suffering Covid symptoms and have tested positive for the virus to model its spread through the country.
It showed on average one in 1,090 people showed signs of Covid in the last week and the national R rate is 1.1.
Cases are concentrated in the North West and Scotland, where the R values reached 1.3 and 1.2 respectively according to the study
But cases were significantly higher in the North West — home to six of the top twelve hotspots for the Indian variant — and Scotland.
The North West saw cases rise to 1,490 with Tameside (844 cases per 100,000 people) and Bury (587) the worst affected.
And Scotland had 944 symptomatic cases, which were concentrated in North Lanarkshire (645 cases per 100,000 people), North Ayrshire (542) and East Dunbartonshire (519).
Professor Spector said: ‘The UK picture is changing quickly now. Cases are rising, but not nationwide, it’s very much a regional issue.
‘The North West of England and Scotland are the two regions with the highest prevalence, with rates higher than in some parts of Europe.
‘However, the data highlights that the increase is happening in the younger age groups, suggesting the start of an epidemic in the young. We can’t be too complacent, and we are monitoring things closely.
‘The ending of lockdown is on everyone’s minds and given the current situation, I believe we should continue to soften restrictions but not lift them all just yet.
‘While unlikely, it’s too early to tell if these increases are going to have any impact on hospital admissions or death rate.
‘The government said it would use data, not dates to make key decisions. It’s sensible to continue measures like working from home as transmission rates are very high in offices, not to mention the impact of increased use of public transport.
‘I’d also recommend we keep wearing masks on public transport and reduce overcrowding indoors.
‘What’s really important moving forward is having the flexibility to deal with local outbreaks while letting the rest of the country and economy get back to normal at the same time.’