Number of cases goes above 4,000 for first time since May

More than 4,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK over the last 24 hours – the highest number of new daily infections since May.

There have been a further 4,322 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of 9am on Friday, with the total number rising to 385,936.

The Government also said another 27 people had died within 28 days of testing positive. This brings the UK total to 41,732.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 57,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The update comes after the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics which suggested that the average number of people in England infected with Covid-19 has almost doubled in the space of a week.

An average of 6,000 people in England per day were estimated to be newly infected between September 4 to 10 – up from an average of 3,200 people per day for the period from August 30 to September 5.

The figures refer to people in private households.

Separate data released on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows that the R value of coronavirus transmission remains above 1.

The current estimate for R across the UK is between 1.1 and 1.4.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.

Sage also said it is concerned coronavirus cases may currently be doubling as quickly as every seven days nationally, with transmission rates potentially even faster in some areas of the country.

It said: ‘It’s even more important for people to remain disciplined and adhere to the current rules.’

Parts of England’s North West, West Yorkshire and the Midlands are facing tough new restrictions in response to ‘major increases’ in cases, with Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire – excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester – escalated to ‘areas of intervention’.

Residents are advised to avoid public transport unless it is essential, as well as professional or amateur sporting events.

The new rules do not apply to Bolton or Greater Manchester, where separate restrictions are already in place.

Meanwhile, in the Midlands, people in Oadby and Wigston will be banned from socialising with others outside of their own household or support bubble in private homes and gardens from Tuesday.

In West Yorkshire, people in all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale will be subject to the same ban on socialising.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.

‘Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them.

‘I know these restrictions will make everyday life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.’

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