Panic is sweeping across the UK amid fears the nation will be forced into a second lockdown after the latest figures revealed a rise in cases of the invisible killer disease. The ONS revealed in the time between 20 and 26 July, around 1 in 1,500 people not in care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings in England would test positive for COVID19, compared to 1 in 2,000 the previous week.
The statistics from the infection survey showed this equates to an average of 35,700 people in England, who had COVID-19 during the most recent week.
ONS said during the most recent week, there were around 0.78 new COVID-19 infections for every 10,000 people in the community population in England, equating to around 4,200 new cases per day.
The ONS said: “Modelling of the rate of new infections over time suggests that there is now some evidence that the incidence of new infections has increased in recent weeks.”
The survey, which looks at estimated infections in the community, did not provide enough evidence to say whether COVID-19 infection rates differ by region.
Britain has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19 and the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe but infections had slowly started to fall.
Official daily data on Thursday showed 846 new positive tests in Britain – the highest number of daily infections since June 28.
However, these figures will add to further fears Briton will be forced back inside due to a second wave of the killer virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night warned the Government would not “shy away” from taking further action to tackle coronavirus across England if necessary.
His warning came as he announced that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire would be banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in virus cases.
The new rules, which came into effect from midnight, also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses will remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household.
Mr Hancock said the Government would be prepared to take further action in other parts of the country if it is necessary.
He told Sky News: “We’ve demonstrated that we’re prepared to take the action that’s necessary to keep people safe.
“That was true in Leicester when we took action there and we’re taking much more localised action in hundreds of different locations right across the country.
“And we are seeing in some parts of the country that increase in the number of cases and we take action where we need to.”
Mr Hancock has been accused of making the announcement “at the last minute” as it came just hours before the Islamic festival of Eid-Ul-Adha began on Friday.
Asked on BBC’s Today programme whether the measures were announced late on Thursday night to stop Eid celebrations from taking place, Mr Hancock said: “No, my heart goes out to the Muslim communities in these areas because I know how important the Eid celebrations are.
“I’m very grateful to the local Muslim leaders, the imams in fact, across the country who’ve been working so hard to find a way to have Covid-secure celebrations.
“For instance celebrating Eid in parks where there’s more space available and of course outdoors is safer than indoors.”
Eid al-Adha – the festival of sacrifice – follows the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.