The UK has recorded its highest number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus since the end of March, according to official figures.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday, another 6,238 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK, which is the highest one-day figure since March 25, according to government figures.
While the increase in the number of cases may be concerning, it comes as analysis by the PA news agency shows that the majority of large hospital trusts in England continue to not admit Covid-19 on average.
However, a handful of trusted virus hotspots show a slight increase in the number, as experts warn that the variant first identified in India, also known as the Delta variant, may carry an increased risk of hospitalization.
Meanwhile, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest the number of people infected with the virus in England has increased by around three-quarters in a week.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 85,600 people in England were infected with the virus in the week to May 29, which equates to around one in 640 people in private households.
This is the highest level since the week of April 16, and is up from 48,500 people – one in 1,120 in private households – in the week ending May 22.
The numbers are still lower than they were earlier this year, with the ONS estimating 1,122,000 people had Covid-19 in the week to January 2.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government “still expected cases to increase” as the lockdown was relaxed, but data being monitored “very carefully” is the number of people admitted to the hospital with symptoms of coronavirus.
The cabinet minister told reporters: “We publish all the information we have on the new variants, including the Delta variant, and we take this approach in a transparent manner.
“The data on the impact on hospitalizations is very early data, so we cannot yet conclude with certainty that there is an impact on your risk of hospitalization.
“But of course we release the first data and we monitor it very carefully.
“Now we always expected that the cases would increase as the country opened up, the critical point is the impact on the number of people who end up in hospital for a given number of cases.
“This link has been severed by the vaccine, but it has not yet been completely severed.
“This is one of the things that we are watching very carefully, and it is too early to say what the decision will be before June 21, but we will make sure people know in time.”
Elsewhere on Friday, it was announced that surge tests were being rolled out in parts of Kent and West Yorkshire after cases of the Delta variant were detected.
Further testing with genomic sequencing is underway in postcodes CT1 and CT2 in Canterbury and postcode ME14 in Maidstone, both in Kent, while it is also being deployed in targeted areas in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Everyone who lives or works in these areas is strongly encouraged to take a test, including children aged 12 and over in Canterbury and Maidstone and those aged 11 and over in Bradford.
Ministers are currently wondering if – and to what extent – the coronavirus restrictions in England can be lifted on June 21, with a leading expert saying Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a “very difficult” appeal.
Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modeling was instrumental in the UK’s lockdown in March 2020, said a “cautious” approach is needed as the government balances potential risks with a desire for normalcy.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today show on Friday: “We know at this point that the Delta variant, the Indian variant, doubles across the country about every nine days, with some variability from location to location. ‘other.
“But we haven’t fully seen the effect of what happened from May 17, step three, the easing of restrictions, reflected in this data, so we expect that to happen. speeds up even more. “
Elsewhere on Friday, the latest government figures show the coronavirus reproduction number, or R-value, in England is between 1 and 1.2 – down from 1 to 1.1 last week.
R represents the average number of people that each person positive for Covid-19 infects.
When the number is greater than 1, an epidemic can grow exponentially, but when it is less than 1, it means that the epidemic is decreasing.
The vaccine rollout in the UK continues as government data through June 3 shows that of the 66,749,638 vaccines given in the UK so far, 39,949,694 were first doses – an increase of 191 266 the day before.
Some 26,799,944 were second doses, an increase of 377,641.
It comes as the public health director of Blackburn with Darwen called for vaccines to be rolled out as soon as possible to adolescents in areas with high transmission.
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15 was approved for the UK on Friday, having already been given the green light for people aged 16 and over.
Dominic Harrison, public health director for Blackburn with Darwen – who currently has the highest case rate in England, said the announcement was “great news”.
Writing on Twitter, he said, “We need to mobilize the deployment of this in areas of high variation variation and high and sustained transmission as soon as possible. This will reduce the UK’s growing risk of the Delta variant. “