Bolton placed under tighter restrictions as infection rate in area becomes the highest in England


Bolton has been placed under tighter Covid-19 restrictions as the infection rate in the area becomes the highest in England with hundreds of thousands of people banned from mixing and businesses forced to remain closed.

Bolton Council has asked for people in the town to avoid mixing with other households and to only use public transport for essential purposes.

It comes as the town’s infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week, the highest in England, the council said.

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • Several officers policing this week’s climate change protests have been pulled off duty due to a flare-up of coronavirus among their ranks;
  • School attendance rates have been well above 90 per cent across England this week, a Daily Mail audit has found, in a much-needed boost to the Government;
  • Father who was pepper-sprayed by police after refusing to wear a mask on train claims he is exempt from the rules because he suffers from panic attacks; 
  • More than half of Britain’s working adults say they have travelled to the office in the past week, according to a new survey, as employees begin to make their way back to their desks; 
  • Hopes for normality grow as Covid shifts to the young: Two-thirds of new UK infections are in under-40s while rate in older people falls – raising hopes deaths will remain low without lockdowns. 

Bolton has been placed under tighter Covid-19 restrictions as the infection rate in the area becomes the highest in England. Pictured: people wearing face masks in the town yesterday

The town's infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week. Pictured: the largely empty town centre on September 1

The town’s infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week. Pictured: the largely empty town centre on September 1

Those aged between 18 and 49 account for more than 90 per cent of the cases, it added.

The new measures, which were announced on Saturday evening and come into effect immediately, aim to prevent the need for a local lockdown, the council said.

People should only use public transport to travel to education, work or for essential appointments, such as one at a hospital.

The advice is to also avoid mixing with other households in any setting, whether it be indoors or outdoors, unless they are part of a person’s ‘support bubble’.

The announcement comes as stricter lockdown measures were eased in other parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. 

In a joint statement, council leader David Greenhalgh and chief executive Tony Oakman said: ‘It has been a tough period for individuals, families and businesses but we don’t want to throw away all our hard work by allowing the infection rate to rise even higher. 

People should only use public transport to travel to education, work or for essential appointments. Pictured: a trace testing centre on Thursday

People should only use public transport to travel to education, work or for essential appointments. Pictured: a trace testing centre on Thursday

The new measures, which were announced on Saturday evening, will come into effect immediately. Pictured: Bolton town centre at the start of September

The new measures, which were announced on Saturday evening, will come into effect immediately. Pictured: Bolton town centre at the start of September

‘Now, more than ever, we need everyone in Bolton to play their part.

‘Nobody wants these restrictions to remain a moment longer than necessary and we believe these new measures will keep everyone safe and help avoid a full lockdown in Bolton.

‘Since the start of this pandemic, the people of Bolton have worked incredibly hard to combat this pandemic.

‘Alongside a range of additional measures and interventions across Bolton we are asking everyone, particularly the younger age groups, to continue to follow the guidelines.’

In the seven days to September 1, 265 new cases were recorded in Bolton – the equivalent of 92.2 per 100,000 people.

This is the highest rate in England and it is up sharply from 18.8 in the seven days to August 25.

Dr Helen Lowey, director of Public Health for Bolton Council, said: ‘This is a crucial stage in our response to the coronavirus and what we will do now will significantly impact how quickly we can reduce the rate to as low a level as possible.

‘We are carrying out extra testing, including giving out home testing kits, and are carrying out extra site visits to support businesses to be Covid secure, and carrying out enforcement where necessary.

‘Evidence from Oldham and Blackburn shows stopping households mixing works.’

House party warning in Leeds after city is put on ‘Covid watch list’ as seven people are slapped with £10k fines for illegal raves and Friday night revellers are pictured getting close

By Isabella Nikolic for MailOnline

Leeds has been added to a ‘covid watch list’ amid a rise in house parties after seven people were slapped with £10,000 fines and revellers were spotted flouting social distancing rules last night.

Partygoers were seen huddled in large groups without face masks as they hit the cobbles and descended on to the city’s pubs and clubs. 

They dressed to the nines and women were seen sporting tight minidresses and heels while men seemed to keep things more casual in jeans and t-shirts. 

The slowly chilling temperatures of 12C didn’t seem to deter the population of Leeds, nor did the Government’s warning that the city could soon be placed under a local lockdown.  

Leeds is teetering on the brink and has been added to Public Health England’s list of areas of concern – while measures will be eased in swathes of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Leicester next week.

The Yorkshire city, home to half a million people, has seen its infection rate rise to 32.4 new cases per 100,000 people, bringing it to the attention of authorities.

One in every 29 people who gets tested there – 3.5 per cent – is testing positive, according to official data.

Revellers were spotted flouting social distancing rules on the streets of Leeds last night after a spike in coronavirus infections has seen the city be put on the Government's Covid 'watch list'

Revellers were spotted flouting social distancing rules on the streets of Leeds last night after a spike in coronavirus infections has seen the city be put on the Government’s Covid ‘watch list’

If cases cannot be kept under wraps with a tougher testing regime, stricter rules might have to be brought in to maintain social distancing and drive the virus out.

WHERE ARE RESTRICTIONS BEING EASED? AND WHERE ARE THEY REMAINING?

Greater Manchester

A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in City of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Bury, Bolton, and Tameside,

In Oldham, in addition to a household mixing ban indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.

In Bolton, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas (including soft play areas), will remain closed. Socially distanced indoor performances will remain closed, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain. We are working closely with local leaders.

Lancashire 

A ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in Preston, Pendle and parts of Blackburn.

In parts of Blackburn Blackburn and parts of Pendle residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere. 

Leicester

Indoor gatherings restrictions remain, the next review of these measures will take place by 11th September.

Indoor swimming pools, including water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities will be able to lawfully reopen from Tuesday 8th September 00.01, but casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas (including soft play areas), will remain closed. This will be reviewed next week.

Socially distanced indoor performances will remain closed, and restrictions on certain close contact services will remain.

West Yorkshire 

Urban areas of Bradford, where the ban on indoor household gatherings is in place.

In Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings will continue in Dewsbury and Batley.

The ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale.

Lockdown measures could also be reintroduced in Lanarkshire, Scotland, because of rising infection rates in the region.

NHS Lanarkshire’s director of public heath has warned the region is ‘very close’ to having to reimplement restrictions, similar to those introduced in the Glasgow area, after the number of cases rose by 16.

Lanarkshire’s health board has now identified 3,044 confirmed cases, an increase of 111 in the past five days.

Meanwhile measures in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire will be eased from next Tuesday, with casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas to lawfully reopen.

Socially-distanced indoor performances will also be able to resume, and remaining restrictions on certain close contact services will be lifted.

Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield will be removed from the Government’s coronavirus Watchlist – but Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering have been added as areas of concern.

And the rates of coronavirus infection in Bolton are considered to be too high by the Government for these easements to be applied. 

Announcing yesterday’s changes, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I’m very glad we’ve been able to make this change, working with local councils, because local lockdowns are working to control the virus.

‘We are seeing improvements in the rates of infection thanks to the huge efforts made by local communities and authorities working alongside our effective Test and Trace system.

‘We must stay alert and I continue to encourage everyone to play their part by following local rules, self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.’

The move was praised by Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who said: ‘We have been asking the Government to consider easing restrictions on business opening across Greater Manchester and welcome the Secretary of State’s positive announcement today.

‘There is no evidence that these businesses are causing the spread of the virus and we know that these premises are making arrangements to operate in a safe way.

‘It is understandable that this won’t apply in Bolton for the time being, but we will be working hard with Bolton Council and partners to move to a position where the restrictions on business opening can be eased as soon as possible.

‘However, it is important people continue to follow the rules on no social gatherings in the home and the public health advice on washing hands, face coverings and social distancing.’ 

It comes as pubs and restaurants in Middlesbrough which put ‘profits before people’ by failing to enforce Covid-19 safety measures risk being closed down.

Mayor Andy Preston said public health officials will visit venues with police on Saturday night after the town was put on the Government’s ‘areas of concern’ watchlist due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

He warned that if venues are found to be putting the public’s health at risk by failing to adhere to coronavirus regulations, they could be immediately closed down.

Speaking to BBC News on Saturday, Mr Preston said: ‘We are seeing a lot of dangerous behaviour and a number of infections coming from pubs and restaurants, and in fact tonight we are out with the police and we are going to be visiting venues.

‘And where we see bad practice, if we think the public’s health is in danger, we may well close those venues down.’

Asked if he would be prepared to close venues down ‘on the spot’, Mr Preston added: ‘Yeah, if we see sufficiently bad practice, if the public’s health is in significant danger, we will take everything we legally can to stay out of a lockdown.’

Mr Preston said he was expecting for Middlesbrough to be put on the Government’s ‘areas of concern’ list.

He said during the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out campaign in August, two-hour-long queues could be seen outside some restaurants.

Mr Preston said: ‘(There were) huge numbers of people bunched together, we saw tables way too close together, we saw a number of establishments putting profits before people, and that’s what we are on the lookout for tonight.’

He said while customers were in charge of their own behaviour, it was the venues’ responsibility to ‘police’ it, adding that if the town is forced into a local lockdown it will ‘damage’ jobs and people’s mental health. 

Council bosses in Leeds say an increase in coronavirus cases among younger people across the city is to blame for the rise.

This is a trend being borne out across the country as increasing numbers of people return to work, pubs, restaurants, gyms and social events.

It joins a host of areas across the North of England and the Midlands that are facing high infections, with Leicester and parts of Greater Manchester and Lancashire still under lockdown rules.   

Leeds City Council is already putting in its own measures, including encouraging employers to follow national guidance on working safely, providing specific support for care homes, schools and other places with groups of people and engaging with communities, businesses and partners. 

It will also target youngsters with social media messaging to discourage gatherings. 

In a statement the council said: ‘The latest seven-day infection figures show Leeds as having a rate of 32.4 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate on testing of 3.5%.

‘The latest data suggests that a lot of the cases are in different areas of the city, meaning they may be linked to social interaction and leisure activities.

‘The spread is broad and changeable across wards and cases have also been increasingly detected in younger people aged 18-34, with some concern over activities like house parties and gatherings.’

Council leader Judith Blake said now was ‘a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus’. 

She told the BBC: ‘Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds.

‘The harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative.’

The council said 44 new cases were identified in Leeds on Wednesday.

Ms Blake added: ‘This is a rise in all different wards across the city, particularly in young adults of all communities.’

Leeds has so far managed to escape tighter lockdown restrictions imposed in other parts of West Yorkshire.

Cities such as Bradford have had restrictions, including restrictions on visiting other households, for several weeks due to a spike in cases.

But, along, with parts of Bradford, local Covid-19 restrictions were eased in northern England this week, allowing social gatherings between two homes from Wednesday in Stockport, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Calderdale and Kirklees.

Trafford and Bolton were also due to come out of local lockdown this week.

Revellers are seen dancing in the streets of Leeds city centre while buskers perform

Revellers are seen dancing in the streets of Leeds city centre while buskers perform 

But government health chiefs performed a last minute U-turn after a spike in cases. 

Matt Hancock said: ‘We brought in measures to protect people in these parts of northern England.

‘We’re seeing the positive results of our local approach, and are able to bring in increasingly targeted measures.’

However Bradford was flagged one of seven new coronavirus hotspots in England and Wales flagged by a Covid-19 symptom-tracking app that uses data from more than three million people.  

King’s College London researchers highlighted South Tyneside, Oldham, Redcar & Cleveland, Wirral, Bradford, Barnsley and Denbighshire as potential areas of concern.

This adds to Blackpool, Halton and Manchester which remain on the list from last week. 

It comes as Britain on Thursday announced 1,735 new coronavirus cases in the biggest daily spike in three months.

The last time daily infections were higher was on June 4, when 1,805 were diagnosed with the disease and the majority of tough lockdown restrictions were still in force.

The seven-day rolling case average is now 1,435, up by a quarter (26 per cent) in a week.

Figures of total confirmed cases per 100,000 population has been on the rise in Leeds since August

Figures for Bradford, where lockdown measures have been in place, are on the decline

Figures of total confirmed cases per 100,000 population has been on the rise in Leeds since August (left), while figures for Bradford (right), where lockdown measures have been in place, are on the decline

Scotland is now also seeing new cases breach 100 every day, for the first time since May.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed on Thursday the country’s reproduction rate could be as high as 1.4, after months of it being safely underneath 1.

The R rate – which represents the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – needs to stay below one or it could spiral uncontrollably.

For Britain as a whole, the R is thought to be hovering around the danger zone of 1 and SAGE is no longer confident is definitely below that number.  

Despite cases being on the climb since July, scientists have emphasised that it is not the sign of a second wave and that they had always expected case diagnoses to increase as lockdown measures were lifted and the testing system got better.

Experts tell MailOnline the rising figures are simply the result of young, healthy people being picked up on official figures. Previously, they were being missed because tests were reserved for the sickest people.

Britain also recorded another 13 coronavirus deaths across all settings, ending the four-day stint of single-digit fatalities. Wales was the only home nation to record zero deaths yesterday.

Britain’s new coronavirus infections rise again to 1,813 but only 124 more patients are hospitalised – 69 of whom are on ventilators – and 12 die from virus

By Emer Scully for MailOnline 

Britain has confirmed 1,813 new coronavirus infections – 596 more than last Saturday’s total – with 124 new hospitalisations and 69 on ventilator beds. 

Twelve people died from coronavirus in the UK within 28 days of a positive test today, bringing the country’s total number of deaths to 41,549.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of new coronavirus infections in the UK are in the under-40s, while the rate among older people has fallen sharply in an ‘extraordinary’ shift that has left researchers hoping to avoid a second wave.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 57,300 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. 

Public Health Wales said the total number of cases in the country increased by 77, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 18,283. One person in Wales died of Covid-19, according to figures released today. 

Eleven people who tested positive for coronavirus in the last 28 days died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,604, NHS England said on Saturday.

The patients were aged between 56 and 94, all had known underlying health conditions and the dates of the deaths ranged from August 31 to September 4, with the majority on or after September 3. 

There were 141 new cases reported in Scotland, but no deaths, and there have been a further 118 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland today, according to the Department of Health, but no deaths. 

While the department’s statistical dashboard provides updates on the number of positive test results over the weekend, it does not relay up-to-date information on coronavirus fatalities on.

The latest death toll reported by the department on Friday stood at 564. There have been 344,164 positive tests for coronavirus in the UK since the pandemic began in March. 

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • Several officers policing this week’s climate change protests have been pulled off duty due to a flare-up of coronavirus among their ranks; 
  • School attendance rates have been well above 90 per cent across England this week, a Daily Mail audit has found, in a much-needed boost to the Government; 
  • Father who was pepper-sprayed by police after refusing to wear a mask on train claims he is exempt from the rules because he suffers from panic attacks; 
  • More than half of Britain’s working adults say they have travelled to the office in the past week, according to a new survey, as employees begin to make their way back to their desks;
  • Hopes for normality grow as Covid shifts to the young: Two-thirds of new UK infections are in under-40s while rate in older people falls – raising hopes deaths will remain low without lockdowns. 

Yesterday Britain confirmed another 1,940 cases of coronavirus in the biggest surge for more than three months, with May 30 the last time so many people were diagnosed with the virus. 

There are 1,530 people testing positive, on average, each day – a jump of 30 per cent in one week. The seven-day rolling average has been steadily increasing since reaching record-low numbers in mid-July. 

Despite this, scientists say the soaring number of tests and still-falling hospitalisations show that a second wave is not incoming, and that a better testing system is simply picking up more young people who only get mildly ill and weren’t getting tested before.    

The number of over-50s testing positive for Covid-19 now represents just a fifth of those nationwide, compared with three quarters in the spring.

Just three per cent are now made up of those over 80, down from 28 per cent six months ago, reported The Times.

The peak age range for infections is now in the 20s but for most of the pandemic it was in the 80s – sparking hope further restrictions can be reduced because it seems older people are voluntarily shielding.

THERE IS NO SIGN OF A SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 IN THE UK, SAY SCIENTISTS

Britain is not entering a second wave of coronavirus infections and the young, mildly-affected people being diagnosed in rising case numbers are not likely to trigger a rise in hospitalisations, experts say.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week warned that the UK ‘must do everything in our power’ to stop a second surge of people going into hospital with the coronavirus, which he said was starting to happen in Europe. 

But experts told MailOnline Mr Hancock’s comments were ‘alarmist’ and that there is currently ‘no sign’ of a second wave coming over the horizon. The data shows hospital cases are also not rising by much in Europe, contrary to the Health Secretary’s claim.

As of Monday there were only 764 people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK, just 60 of whom are in intensive care. This is a sharp drop from a peak of 19,872 hospitalised patients on April 12.

The falling number of hospital cases comes despite infections having been on the rise since lockdown restrictions were lifted at the start of July. Experts say this is because the groups getting infected and diagnosed now are completely different to those at the start of the pandemic. 

Scientists say it is younger people driving up infections and they are less likely to get seriously ill and end up in hospital. For that reason, hospital cases and deaths will not necessarily follow higher cases, and there may not be a deadly wave like the first.   

Professor Carl Heneghan, a medicine expert at the University of Oxford, said: ‘There is currently no second wave. What we are seeing is a sharp rise in the number of healthy people who are carrying the virus, but exhibiting no symptoms. Almost all of them are young. They are being spotted because – finally – a comprehensive system of national test and trace is in place.’

Mr Hancock said in the Commons on Tuesday that he feared this rise in infections in healthy people would creep into vulnerable groups if allowed to continue, saying it was a pattern seen in the US where cases are out of control again.  

But scientists have shot down Mr Hancock’s doomsayer comments, pointing out that deaths have not risen in France or Spain, and the reason hospital admissions have not risen in the UK with diagnosed cases ‘simply reflects increased testing’. 

Official data from the continent shows Europe’s hospitals are not filling up with coronavirus patients despite a surge in positive tests – hospitalisations have been falling in France, Spain and Germany while cases have risen.

Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway told MailOnline: ‘An important point is that numbers of Covid deaths in France have shown very little evidence of a rise recently. There has been something of a rise in deaths Spain, but not very marked at all.’ 

Statisticians say expansion of testing capacity means infections are being found more easily than at the start of the pandemic. In the UK alone, the number of tests being carried out has increased by 20 per cent from the start of July to now. But the number of positive results has gone up by only 0.3 per cent in the same period, suggesting new cases are a combination of more tests, and only a slight rise in infections in hotspots.  

One Government adviser has suggested a Swedish-style effort to keep workplaces open while advising older people to stay at home. 

Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh, who sits on the government’s SPI-M modelling group, said ‘the epidemic is starting to divide’ people by age.  

Ministers have spoken out against plans to ask people to shield based on their age and are worried if infections are allowed to rise in the young it will eventually spread to more vulnerable members of society.

Especially after France reported a rise in hospital admissions just weeks after cases in young people increased.     

Last week 2,042 cases were confirmed in people in their twenties, more than ten times the number among over-80s. 

Professor Dame Anne Johnson, professor of infectious disease epidemiology, University College London, told BBC Radio 4: ‘This is indeed a critical moment. If you look at the data from PHE across the country, we are now seeing the highest number of detected infections in younger people aged 20-29 and also going up to 45.  

‘On the one hand, the good news is we aren’t at the moment seeing the uptick in cases in hospitals and in deaths but of course that reflects where the transmission is going on.’

She added that it would be ‘incredibly important’ to continue to tell young people about the risks of transmitting coronavirus. 

Cases started rising in younger people from July, when the hospitality sector was allowed to open up. 

The number of positive Covid-19 tests are lower in all ages than in the Spring, but the number of elderly people with the disease has fallen.  

Professor Carl Heneghan, a medicine expert at the University of Oxford, said this week: ‘What we are seeing is a sharp rise in the number of healthy people who are carrying the virus, but exhibiting no symptoms… They are being spotted because – finally – a comprehensive system of national test and trace is in place.’ 

The number of tests being carried out has increased by 20 per cent from the start of July to now. But the number of positive results has only crept up by only 0.3 per cent in the same period, suggesting new cases are a combination of more tests, and only a slight rise in infections in hotspots. 

It comes as Government scientists warned the Covid-19 reproduction rate was still likely above one across the UK, meaning that the virus is not totally under control and local outbreaks have the potential to spill into larger ones. 

The R – the average number of people each virus patient infects – needs to stay below one or the outbreak could start to grow exponentially. But SAGE estimates it is still hovering between 0.9 and 1.1, having remained unchanged from last week. However, the UK’s low infection rate means small outbreaks can skew the estimate upwards.

SAGE also predicts that Britain’s outbreak is now growing by up to two per cent per day, after being in retreat for months following lockdown.  

But other official data published yesterday from swabbing thousands of random people across England suggests the number of people catching the coronavirus each day is at a steady level, and has been since July.   

Some 27,100 people in England are thought to be infected at any one time – 0.05 per cent of the population or one in every 2,000 people – according to the Office for National Statistics, which said: ‘Evidence suggests that the incidence rate for England remains unchanged.’

The 1,940 cases diagnosed yesterday was the highest since Saturday, May 30, when 2,445 people tested positive for the disease. But it was nowhere near the rates seen at the height of the pandemic, when more than 5,000 were diagnosed every day.

The figure given by the Department of Health each day is in relation to the number of people who have been given a positive test result. Most scientists say the rise in recent weeks is not a concern because it is the result of more testing in hotspots.   

They say the rising figures are simply the result of young, healthy people being picked up on official figures. Previously, they were being missed because tests were reserved for the sickest people.  

This graph shows the number of new coronavirus infections by age group over the last two weeks. The number of younger people becoming ill is rising

This graph shows the number of new coronavirus infections by age group over the last two weeks. The number of younger people becoming ill is rising

Confirmed coronavirus cases in England by age and gender. Figures show the change in age groups affected by the disease. Left, since start of the pandemic. Right, last two weeks

Confirmed coronavirus cases in England by age and gender. Figures show the change in age groups affected by the disease. Left, since start of the pandemic. Right, last two weeks

Statisticians at ONS said: ‘Evidence suggests that the incidence rate for England remains unchanged.’ 

King’s College London researchers, who run an app through which almost four million people report symptoms and test results, also estimate there are 2,000 new cases per day across the whole of the UK.

Despite infections being on the rise since lockdown restrictions were lifted at the start of July, experts are sure it is not the sign a second wave. 

And on top of that, the first ‘wave’ is not considered to be over, and is likely to see bumps as the coronavirus fizzles out in response to easing of lockdown restrictions. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said efforts to control the coronavirus were working. But nevertheless, he added: ‘I would urge everybody to continue to be vigilant – wash your hands, wear a face covering and keep social distance from those outside your household – so we can keep the virus at bay.’ 

The Office for National Statistics further suggests the UK’s coronavirus outbreak has remained stable. It estimates how many people are catching the coronavirus each day, including those with symptoms, who would show up in cases data, and those without.

Yesterday’s report said the number of people catching coronavirus in England remains stable at 2,000 per day – down 200 from last Friday, when the prediction sat at 2,200.

Some 27,100 people in England are thought to be infected at any one time – 0.05 per cent of the population or one in every 2,000 people. This total is a decrease of four per cent from the 28,200 estimate last week. 

 

Government figures show around 20,000 were in hospital every day during the darkest days of the crisis in April

Government figures show around 20,000 were in hospital every day during the darkest days of the crisis in April

Around 3,000 people a day were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 at the peak of the crisis in April, according to government statistics. The correct figure is not yet known

Around 3,000 people a day were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 at the peak of the crisis in April, according to government statistics. The correct figure is not yet known

Ministers have spoken out against plans to ask people to shield based on their age and are worried if infections are allowed to rise in the young it will eventually spread to more vulnerable members of society. Pictured, women on a night out in Soho on August 29

Ministers have spoken out against plans to ask people to shield based on their age and are worried if infections are allowed to rise in the young it will eventually spread to more vulnerable members of society. Pictured, women on a night out in Soho on August 29

HOW HAS THE R RATE CHANGED IN THE UK?

AREA

ENGLAND  

UK

EAST 

LONDON

MIDLANDS

NORTH EAST 

NORTH WEST

SOUTH EAST

SOUTH WEST 

THIS WEEK

0.9 – 1.0 

0.9 – 1.1 

— 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.9 – 1.1 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.8 – 1.1 

LAST WEEK 

0.9 – 1.1 

0.9 – 1.1 

 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.9 – 1.1 

0.8 – 1.1 

0.8 – 1.0 

0.9 – 1.1 

0.9 – 1.1 

0.9 – 1.1 

 

HOW HAS THE GROWTH RATE CHANGED? 

AREA

ENGLAND 

UK

EAST 

LONDON

MIDLANDS

NORTH EAST 

NORTH WEST

SOUTH EAST

SOUTH WEST 

THIS WEEK 

 -2% to +1%

-1% to +2%

  — 

-5% to 0%

-3% to +2% 

 -6% to 0%

 -3% to 0%

-3% to 0%

-4% to +1%

-4% to +1% 

LAST WEEK   

-2% to +1% 

-2% to +1% 

— 

-3% to 0% 

-2% to +1% 

-3% to +1% 

-3% to +1% 

-3% to +1% 

-2% to +1% 

-2% to +2% 

 

Office for National Statistics data: There are now an estimated 2,000 new cases each day, on average

Office for National Statistics data: There are now an estimated 2,000 new cases each day, on average

Instead, they say the climbing figures are being caused by completely different groups of people getting infected compared to those at the start of the pandemic. 

Younger people are driving up infections and they are less likely to get seriously ill and end up in hospital. For that reason, hospital cases and deaths will not necessarily follow higher cases, and there may not be a deadly wave like the first.   

Matt Hancock this week admitted that he feared the rise in infections in healthy people would creep into vulnerable groups if allowed to continue, saying it was a pattern seen in the US where cases are out of control again.

But scientists have shot down Mr Hancock’s doomsayer comments, pointing out that deaths have not risen in France or Spain, and the reason hospital admissions have not risen in the UK with diagnosed cases ‘simply reflects increased testing’. 

Official data from the continent shows Europe’s hospitals are not filling up with coronavirus patients despite a surge in positive tests – hospitalisations have been falling in France, Spain and Germany while cases have risen.

Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway told MailOnline: ‘An important point is that numbers of Covid deaths in France have shown very little evidence of a rise recently. There has been something of a rise in deaths Spain, but not very marked at all.’  

King's College London researchers also estimate there are 2,000 new cases per day across the whole of the UK. But this is a surge of 53 per cent on their estimate given the week prior - 1,300

King’s College London researchers also estimate there are 2,000 new cases per day across the whole of the UK. But this is a surge of 53 per cent on their estimate given the week prior – 1,300

King's College London estimate there are 2,000 new cases per day across the whole of the UK, which is 53 per cent higher than their estimate last week

King’s College London estimate there are 2,000 new cases per day across the whole of the UK, which is 53 per cent higher than their estimate last week 

Meanwhile, Government experts said they think the UK’s growth rate –  how the number of new cases is changing day-by-day – is between -1 per cent and +2 per cent.

Like the R rate, the growth rate is a tool to keep track of the virus. If it is greater than zero, and therefore positive, then the disease will grow, and if the growth rate is less than zero, then the disease will shrink. 

The value is shown as a range. Because it is +2%, it suggests that a small increasing rate of cases is slightly more likely than a slow fall. 

Last week’s growth rate interval was from -2% to +1% per day, so the interval has moved up by a small amount in the direction of increasing cases, rather than decreasing. But the estimates have a high degree of uncertainty. 

In a repeat of last week’s statistics, SAGE confirmed that every region of the UK could have an R rate at or above 1. The Government’s scientists said it had for weeks ‘been seeing indications that these values are increasing’.

The SAGE report published yesterday showed that for England alone, the R had come down slightly, from 0.9 and 1.1 last week to 0.9 and 1.0 this week.

This was helped by the fact four regions in England saw their R shrink slightly – the Midlands, North West, South East and South West. 

But SAGE warned that when transmission is as low as it currently is in the UK – a 1,000 people are being diagnosed every day – the R and growth rate are more volatile. This means it can be skewed upwards by local clusters of infections.

The Office for National Statistics also report a steady 2,000 per day figure. It said: 'Evidence suggests that the incidence rate for England remains unchanged'

The Office for National Statistics also report a steady 2,000 per day figure. It said: ‘Evidence suggests that the incidence rate for England remains unchanged’

The positivity rate of coronavirus tests in the UK has remained flat since June, showing that the proportion of people testing positive is not changing drastically - this suggests the rising number of cases is linked to the rising number of tests

The positivity rate of coronavirus tests in the UK has remained flat since June, showing that the proportion of people testing positive is not changing drastically – this suggests the rising number of cases is linked to the rising number of tests

And because of a lag in the time it takes for patients to fall ill with Covid-19 and appear in the statistics, SAGE says its data is still about three weeks behind and does not accurately reflect the current trajectory of the outbreak, therefore ‘are insufficiently robust to inform policy decisions alone’. 

Commenting on the ONS infection survey and SAGE reports, Kevin McConway, an emeritus professor of Applied Statistics, The Open University, said: ‘My interpretation is that both of them indicate that the rate of new infections is approximately stable at the national level. It might be increasing slowly, or it could even be falling slowly. There is inevitable statistical uncertainty in these estimates. 

‘We just can’t be sure of the direction of change, if indeed there is a clear overall direction. 

‘Unlike many of the other sources of information on new cases, the ONS infection survey estimates aren’t affected by changes in the numbers of tests done as a result of people having symptoms.’

Yesterday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that reproduction rate of north of the border was ‘probably above one’ and could be as high as 1.4 after spikes in Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I said recently that the R number is of slightly less concern when overall prevalence of the virus is low, and overall prevalence of the virus is still low in Scotland right now.

‘But nevertheless this is a reminder that the virus is spreading again here, just as it is elsewhere in the UK, across Europe and indeed in the wider world’. The devolved nations do their own R rate predictions and they are not routinely published.  

THERE IS NO SIGN OF A SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 IN THE UK, SAY SCIENTISTS 

Britain is not entering a second wave of coronavirus infections and the young, mildly-affected people being diagnosed in rising case numbers are not likely to trigger a rise in hospitalisations, experts say.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week warned that the UK ‘must do everything in our power’ to stop a second surge of people going into hospital with the coronavirus, which he said was starting to happen in Europe. 

But experts told MailOnline Mr Hancock’s comments were ‘alarmist’ and that there is currently ‘no sign’ of a second wave coming over the horizon. The data shows hospital cases are also not rising by much in Europe, contrary to the Health Secretary’s claim.

As of Monday there were only 764 people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK, just 60 of whom are in intensive care. This is a sharp drop from a peak of 19,872 hospitalised patients on April 12.

The falling number of hospital cases comes despite infections having been on the rise since lockdown restrictions were lifted at the start of July. Experts say this is because the groups getting infected and diagnosed now are completely different to those at the start of the pandemic. 

Scientists say it is younger people driving up infections and they are less likely to get seriously ill and end up in hospital. For that reason, hospital cases and deaths will not necessarily follow higher cases, and there may not be a deadly wave like the first.   

Professor Carl Heneghan, a medicine expert at the University of Oxford, said: ‘There is currently no second wave. What we are seeing is a sharp rise in the number of healthy people who are carrying the virus, but exhibiting no symptoms. Almost all of them are young. They are being spotted because – finally – a comprehensive system of national test and trace is in place.’

Mr Hancock said in the Commons on Tuesday that he feared this rise in infections in healthy people would creep into vulnerable groups if allowed to continue, saying it was a pattern seen in the US where cases are out of control again.  

But scientists have shot down Mr Hancock’s doomsayer comments, pointing out that deaths have not risen in France or Spain, and the reason hospital admissions have not risen in the UK with diagnosed cases ‘simply reflects increased testing’. 

Official data from the continent shows Europe’s hospitals are not filling up with coronavirus patients despite a surge in positive tests – hospitalisations have been falling in France, Spain and Germany while cases have risen.

Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway told MailOnline: ‘An important point is that numbers of Covid deaths in France have shown very little evidence of a rise recently. There has been something of a rise in deaths Spain, but not very marked at all.’ 

Statisticians say expansion of testing capacity means infections are being found more easily than at the start of the pandemic. In the UK alone, the number of tests being carried out has increased by 20 per cent from the start of July to now. But the number of positive results has gone up by only 0.3 per cent in the same period, suggesting new cases are a combination of more tests, and only a slight rise in infections in hotspots.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk