Coronavirus UK: 17 new fatalities in preliminary daily death toll

Coronavirus cases in Britain have been on the up for three weeks – with 835 Britons now getting diagnosed each day, on average. The rolling rate is 53 per cent higher than the 546 on July 8, which was the lowest figure since before lockdown.

And health chiefs yesterday recorded 950 more infections in the highest daily toll since June 26 (1,006).

But the number of Brits being diagnosed with Covid-19 is still much lower than what was being recorded during the darkest days of the outbreak in April.

Around 5,000 positive tests were being confirmed each day during the height of the crisis — but this is likely to be a massive under-estimate due to a lack of testing.

Fewer than 20,000 people were getting swabbed for the virus on a daily basis in April. Now more than 100,000 tests are being processed each day.

It suggests that the virus is making a resurgence in the UK, like other European nations. Spain has been forced to reimpose lockdowns and infection rates have doubled in France over the past fortnight.

But top scientists have warned the rise in cases across Britain is down to a spike in testing – and is not reflective of a genuine second wave.

Professor Carl Heneghan, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, said data shows the number of pillar two tests – ones carried out in the community – rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.

And he argued the number of cases spotted for every 100,000 of the tests is ‘flat-lining’, claiming they are actually dropping for pillar one, which are given to NHS and care workers as well as patients in hospital.

Other estimates, however, do also show a rise in cases.

The ONS, which tracks the size of the outbreak in England by carrying out thousands of swab samples, last week estimated cases had doubled from the end of June to mid-July.

The data, considered the most accurate of its kind, was among a series of figures that prompted Boris Johnson to announce he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.

But it today revealed there is evidence to show infections across the nation have ‘levelled off’. It now estimates 3,700 people are getting infected each day in England – down 12 per cent on the 4,200 prediction the week before.

Other surveillance schemes have seen a similar trend. Experts behind King’s College London’s symptom-tracking app says cases rose 12 per cent from July 23 to July 30, when they said 2,110 people were getting infected each day. But their most recent estimate, released yesterday, says this has dropped again to 1,600.

Testing figures do not show the true number of people infected because many people catch the virus but never test positive for it, either because they don’t realise they are sick, because they couldn’t get a test, or because their result was wrong.

Other measures that reflect if an outbreak is really going up – hospital admissions and deaths – have barely changed in the past month.

Government statistics show fewer than 60 Britons are dying after testing positive for Covid-19 each day. For comparison, more than 1,000 fatalities were being recorded each day during the darkest days of the outbreak in April.

But the speed at which deaths have dropped has slowed.

The rolling seven-day average has dropped 13 per cent since July 18 (68). But it fell three times quicker (42 per cent) between the start of July and the 18th.

Infected patients can take weeks to die from the coronavirus, meaning any up-tick in cases in mid-July are likely to have started trickling through by now.

Hospital admissions — another marker of an outbreak that go up before deaths — have also barely changed in the past week.

Fewer than 150 people needed NHS care for coronavirus on July 29, the most up-to-date figure. Data for days since then are not deemed to be entirely accurate because admissions may still trickle in because of a recording lag.

For comparison, 183 patients were admitted the week before. And more than 3,500 infected Britons were being admitted to hospital each day during the peak of the outbreak.

Britain announces 17 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll

Britain announces 17 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,430

  • Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final lab-confirmed figure, which is often much higher 
  • The early count is calculated by adding up the daily updates that are announced by each of the home nations 
  • NHS England declared ten patients had died after testing positive for the virus in hospitals across the country 
  • Wales recorded seven in all settings but no Covid-19 fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland 

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Britain today announced 17 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,430. 

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today declared ten victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded seven in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

For comparison, 49 deaths were officially recorded yesterday and 120 were declared last Friday. Around 58 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.

It comes as official data today revealed coronavirus cases may be on their way down again after weeks of being on the up. Growing fears of a second wave in Britain prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown last week.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week. 

But government scientific advisers today warned the coronavirus reproduction rate could now be as high as one right across the UK. SAGE estimates the R value – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is now between 0.8 and 1.0, up from last week’s prediction that it was hovering around 0.8 and 0.9. Experts say the R needs to stay below one or Governments risk losing control of the epidemic and the virus could spiral back out of control.

ARE CASES REALLY ON THE UP?

Coronavirus cases may be on their way down again after weeks of being on the up, official data today revealed amid growing fears of a second wave in Britain. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day.

It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling. The spike in cases prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.

The ONS estimated 28,300 people in England had the coronavirus between July 27 and August 2 – the equivalent of one in 1,900 people. In comparison, last week’s rate was one in 1,500. 

Separate government figures have suggested a spike in cases over the past month and health chiefs yesterday recorded another 950 infections – the highest daily toll since June 26 (1,006). 

But top scientists have argued the figures are not proof of a second wave and are merely down to an increase in testing in areas that have been hit by flare-ups of the disease. 

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 950 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 835. 

The rate has been on the up for over a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence, after dipping to a four-month low of 546 on July 8.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 308,134. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.

He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency's estimate last week, when they warned there was 'enough evidence' to prove cases were spiralling

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: R-rate could be as high as 1.8

The coronavirus rate of infection could be as high as 1.8 in Northern Ireland – as the country records 43 more cases within 23 clusters.

The Department of Health said the R-rate rose from between 0.5 and one last week, to between 0.8 and 1.8 this week, in a dramatic escalation of Covid-19 in the region.

R represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a person with the virus.  

It comes as more than 20 coronavirus clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland.

Of the 23 pinpointed in the region since May 25 when the test and trace programme went live, 11 clusters remain open, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA).

First Minister Arlene Foster at a press confrerence at Dublin Castle for the first summit of the North South Ministerial Council on July 31, 2020. More than 20 coronavirus clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland

It means the planned reopening of pubs and bars that don’t sell food has been pushed back to September 1.  

First Minister Arlene Foster said: ‘Because of the concern around the level of community transmission and the desire to frankly prioritise the reopening of our schools… we have decided that it is prudent to pause the reopening of our public houses.’

Some 168 cases of Covid-19 have been associated with the clusters, with nine areas connected to five or more cases.

Earlier this week, two businesses in Newcastle, Co Down, closed temporarily following outbreaks among their staff.

It means the planned reopening of pubs and bars that don't sell food has been pushed back to September 1. Pictured, a closed pub in Belfast

It means the planned reopening of pubs and bars that don’t sell food has been pushed back to September 1. Pictured, a closed pub in Belfast

The statement from the PHA came on Thursday as the Department of Health’s daily updates showed 43 more positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in the region, bringing the total to 6,049.

No new deaths were recorded on Thursday, leaving the total in the region at 556, according to departmental figures.

The PHA has defined a cluster as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 among individuals associated with a key setting, with illness onset dates within a 14-day period.

Key settings which have seen a cluster include workplaces, retail or hospitality premises, domestic gatherings, and sporting settings, however the PHA said the transmission risk is highest in a household setting.

Key settings which have seen a cluster include workplaces, retail or hospitality premises, domestic gatherings, and sporting settings. Pictured, parishioners wearing face masks in Armagh on June 29

Key settings which have seen a cluster include workplaces, retail or hospitality premises, domestic gatherings, and sporting settings. Pictured, parishioners wearing face masks in Armagh on June 29

Since July, the average number of close contacts linked to cases has more than doubled. 

The rise may be attributed to the gradual easing of lockdown measures, but may also be explained by the relaxing of attitudes to social distancing.

Dr Gerry Waldron, head of health protection at the PHA, said: ‘Clusters are managed through the contact tracing programme, and where we need to advise or inform the public of any increased risk to public health we will do so in a timely manner.

‘In the past seven days, five clusters have been identified. Thirty-five cases have been associated with these clusters, with 239 close contacts.

‘This should act as a timely reminder that we must not become complacent – coronavirus remains in circulation and we have seen an increase in cases in recent weeks. It is therefore essential that we remember the key advice to help keep ourselves and those around us safe.

‘Maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and get tested if you display any symptoms of coronavirus.

Prison officers wearing PPE clothing as they await new committals at HMP Maghaberry in Lisburn, Co Antrim

Prison officers wearing PPE clothing as they await new committals at HMP Maghaberry in Lisburn, Co Antrim

‘Speculation around current clusters of Covid-19 across Northern Ireland is not helpful.

‘We will not be commenting on individual cases of Covid-19 or going into the detail of every incident that emerges, as this could lead to people being identified, create stigma, and focus attention on individuals, families or groups, and therefore deter others with symptoms coming forward to be tested.’ 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said while community transmission remains low in Northern Ireland, the number of positive tests per day has increased three-fold from early July.

Chief scientific adviser Professor Ian Young said: ‘The most recent data for Northern Ireland underlines the need for continued vigilance.

‘There are five key steps each of us can take to keep ourselves and others safe – rigorously maintain social distancing; wash our hands well and often; wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult; co-operate fully with the Test, Trace and Protect programme, and download the Stop Covid NI app.’ 

Coronavirus UK: 950 new cases and 49 deaths in official toll

Coronavirus cases rose to a six-week high in the UK today as officials announced another 950 people had tested positive for the life-threatening disease.

Department of Health statistics show 835 Britons are now getting diagnosed each day — with the rolling seven-day average having consistently risen since it dropped to a four-month low on July 8 (546). The daily number of cases is the highest since 1,006 on June 26.

The figures add to mounting fears of a second wave. Nicola Sturgeon today admitted the coronavirus R rate in Scotland has gone up and could be as high as the dreaded level of one, where an outbreak could start to spiral out of control again.

Despite the UK’s cases curve starting to rise again, deaths have yet to follow suit. Health chiefs today announced 45 more Covid-19 fatalities — taking the official number of victims to 46,413. 

Around 59 patients are succumbing to the illness each day, on average. It’s slightly higher than yesterday’s figure of 58 but remains lower than the daily mean of 64 last Thursday. 

And the number of patients being admitted to hospital has yet to spike, bolstering claims from top scientists that the outbreak is not getting worse and cases are only rising because more patients are being tested. 

Just 85 coronavirus patients were admitted for NHS care across the UK on August 4 — a figure which has barely changed throughout July. During the darkest days of Britain’s crisis in April, around 3,500 patients were needing hospital treatment every day.

It comes as it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count following an urgent review into how they are counted. A ‘flaw’ meant all survivors in England would eventually be counted as a victim — even if they were hit by a bus months after beating the infection.

In other developments today: 

  • NHS Test and Trace is getting worse at tracking down contacts of infected Covid-19 patients, the government  admitted amid mounting pressure to improve the system before the winter;
  • Nicola Sturgeon admitted Scotland’s R rate has gone up to as high as one and warned infection numbers are expected to keep rising despite a lockdown in Aberdeen;
  • The Bank of England warned that unemployment is set to rise by a million within months as coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy – but admitted the downturn might not be as apocalyptic as feared;
  • Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased and infections halved from May to July, according to the results of a major study;
  • Ministers spent more than £150milllion buying millions of face masks from a small investment company that cannot be used by NHS medics, court documents revealed;
  • Homebuyers living in major cities are planning their escape to the countryside as a property website reported a 125 per cent increase in people looking to move to villages after the coronavirus lockdown.

Thousands of coronavirus deaths ‘will be wiped off the government’s official toll’ 

Thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count, it was claimed today.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 892 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 820. 

For comparison, the rate was 802 the day before — which was the first time it had topped 800 in more than a month. The rate has been on the up for over a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 307,184. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.

He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent)

Nicola Sturgeon admits Scotland’s R rate has gone UP to as high as one

Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen, Nicola Sturgeon admitted today.

The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

NHS England today declared five victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded three in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

It comes after it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. 

One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis.

The Health Secretary is expected to announce the new measurement by the end of the week following the two-week review into the counting fiasco.

The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia.

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious university, told the Sun: ‘It is a sensible decision. There is no point attributing deaths to Covid 28 days after infection.

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased 

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased, a major study revealed today.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report.

Cases appear to have slowly crept up since ‘Super Saturday’, according to the Government’s official statistics. Around 800 people are catching the virus a day — up from a four-month low of 546 on July 8.

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today admitted that Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen.

The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

Ms Sturgeons warning came hours after a major study revealed coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. 

This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report. 

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.

Coronavirus UK: Eight new fatalities in preliminary death toll

Britain today announced eight more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,372. 

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today declared five victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded three in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

For comparison, 65 deaths were officially recorded yesterday and 38 were declared last Thursday. Around 58 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.

It comes as it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count. Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

In other developments today: 

  • Nicola Sturgeon admitted Scotland’s R rate has gone up to as high as one and warned infection numbers are expected to keep rising despite a lockdown in Aberdeen;
  • The Bank of England warned that unemployment is set to rise by a million within months as coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy – but admitted the downturn might not be as apocalyptic as feared;
  • Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased and infections halved from May to July, according to the results of a major study;
  • Ministers spent more than £150milllion buying millions of face masks from a small investment company that cannot be used by NHS medics, court documents revealed;
  • Homebuyers living in major cities are planning their escape to the countryside as a property website reported a 125 per cent increase in people looking to move to villages after the coronavirus lockdown.

Thousands of coronavirus deaths ‘will be wiped off the government’s official toll’ 

Thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count, it was claimed today.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 892 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 820. 

For comparison, the rate was 802 the day before — which was the first time it had topped 800 in more than a month. The rate has been on the up for over a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 307,184. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, this week claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend.

He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested, pointing to data showing the number of pillar two tests carried out each day rose by 80 per cent over the course of July to around 80,000.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent)

Nicola Sturgeon admits Scotland’s R rate has gone UP to as high as one

Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen, Nicola Sturgeon admitted today.

The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

It comes after it was reported today that thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government’s official count.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a ‘statistical flaw’.

Academics found Public Health England’s methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.

It would’ve meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England’s confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.

The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England’s official toll of 41,749, according to reports. 

One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his ‘best guess’ was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.

Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis.

The Health Secretary is expected to announce the new measurement by the end of the week following the two-week review into the counting fiasco.

The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia.

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious university, told the Sun: ‘It is a sensible decision. There is no point attributing deaths to Covid 28 days after infection.

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased 

Coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased, a major study revealed today.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report.

Cases appear to have slowly crept up since ‘Super Saturday’, according to the Government’s official statistics. Around 800 people are catching the virus a day — up from a four-month low of 546 on July 8.

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon today admitted that Scotland’s coronavirus infection rate has risen in the wake of an outbreak in Aberdeen.

The First Minister said the R-rate for the county had risen to between 0.6 and one, up from between 0.6 and 0.9 and new cases have also been found in Glasgow and the Clyde.

A total of 79 cases have been confirmed in Aberdeen in relation to the cluster which prompted the city to be put in lockdown, with a further 30 under investigation.

Ms Sturgeon said she expects to be reporting a rise in the number of people infected in Aberdeen on Friday, despite putting pubs, restaurants and other businesses back into mothballs.

‘I know that this is a real blow to the city and all of us regret that we’ve had to take this position, but I do believe that people understand why it is necessary,’ she said.

‘There are just too many uncertainties about this outbreak right now so we are not yet confident that we can keep it under control without these additional measures.’

Ms Sturgeons warning came hours after a major study revealed coronavirus cases continued to fall after some lockdown measures were eased.

Some 123 Britons were diagnosed with the infection out of a sample size of nearly 160,000 people between June 9 and July 8 — an incidence rate of 0.07 per cent. 

This was down by almost half from May, when 159 people out of 120,620 tested positive (0.13 per cent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the research showed ‘we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted’.

Non-essential shops were allowed to reopen on June 15, and ministers allowed single-person households to mix with other homes for the first time since the lockdown was introduced on March 23.

But the effect of the changes on July 4 — when the two-metre social distancing rule was halved and pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened — won’t be felt until the Imperial College London team’s next report. 

The same study also found more than eight in 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus in June and July had no symptoms.

Britain records 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll

Britain records 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,314

  • Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final lab-confirmed figure, which is often much higher 
  • The early count is calculated by adding up the daily updates that are announced by each of the home nations 
  • NHS England declared 13 patients had died after testing positive for the virus in hospitals across the country
  • Wales recorded two in all settings but no Covid-19 fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland 

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Britain today announced 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,314. 

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. 

The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today declared 13 victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded two in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

For comparison, 89 deaths were officially recorded yesterday and 83 were declared last Wednesday. Around 60 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.

In other developments today:

  • Aberdeen was put back into lockdown as Nicola Sturgeon revealed pubs, cafes and restaurants will be shut and people would be banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes;
  • Britain’s jobs bloodbath continued with hundreds of jobs axed at high street giants WH Smith and M&Co, meaning the number of workers facing redundancy as a result of the Covid crisis is now above 100,000;
  • One of Britain’s leading hair loss clinics reported a link between Covid-19 and hair loss after survivors complained the disease caused their locks to fall out in clumps three months after their battle;
  • France could lose control of its coronavirus outbreak at any time, according to the country’s top scientific body that warned a second wave was highly likely; 
  • Delaying quarantine measures at the border was a ‘serious mistake’ that allowed 10,000 infected people into the UK accelerated the virus spread, a major report by MPs warned.

The UK also recorded another 89 deaths, meaning 60 people are dying a day on average. Just nine deaths were recorded yesterday — but counts are always lower on Mondays because of a recording lag at weekends. For comparison, Government figures show 119 victims were announced last Tuesday

ABERDEEN IS PUT BACK INTO LOCKDOWN 

Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown as pubs, cafes and restaurants were shut and people were banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 infections have now been reported in the outbreak – double yesterday’s figure – and all indoor and outdoor hospitality venues were ordered to close by 5pm today.

She said the rise in cases heightens fears the Scottish Government is ‘dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may include some community transmission’. Residents were told not to enter each other’s houses.

It comes a day after the Queen and Prince Philip landed at Aberdeen Airport where they were met by a driver and whisked off to the Balmoral estate, which is roughly an hour away. Their staff in Scotland have been quarantined for two weeks to minimise the Covid risk, and the couple are expected to stay there until early October.

The Aberdeen lockdown also comes just six days after parts of the North West of England were also put back under restrictions, with 4.5million people in Manchester facing £100 fines if they breach the rules.

 

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 670 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 802. 

It was the first time the rate had been above 800 since July 2. For comparison, the rate was 697 last Tuesday and has been on the up for more than a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 306,293. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

Separate figures — released yesterday — revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.

It comes as Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown as officials announced pubs, cafes and restaurants will shut and people will be banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

Large crowds of revellers gather outside Soul Bar on Union Street in Aberdeen city centre on Saturday evening

Large crowds of revellers gather outside Soul Bar on Union Street in Aberdeen city centre on Saturday evening

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered all indoor and outdoor hospitality venues to close by 5pm today because of a cluster of 54 cases.

She said the rise in cases heightens fears Scotland is ‘dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may include some community transmission’. Residents were told not to enter each other’s houses.

It comes a day after the Queen and Prince Philip landed at Aberdeen Airport where they were met by a driver and whisked off to the Balmoral estate, which is roughly an hour away. 

Their staff in Scotland have been quarantined for a fortnight to minimise the Covid risk, and the couple are expected to stay there until early October.

The Aberdeen lockdown also comes just six days after parts of the North West of England were also put back under restrictions, with 4.5million people in Manchester facing £100 fines if they breach the rules.

Britain records 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll

Britain records 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,314

  • Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final lab-confirmed figure, which is often much higher 
  • The early count is calculated by adding up the daily updates that are announced by each of the home nations 
  • NHS England declared 13 patients had died after testing positive for the virus in hospitals across the country
  • Wales recorded two in all settings but no Covid-19 fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland 

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Britain today announced 15 more coronavirus deaths in the preliminary toll — taking the official number of victims to 46,314. 

Department of Health chiefs have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which is often much higher because it takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. 

The early count — which only includes a fraction of the Covid-19 deaths in England — is calculated by adding up updates declared by each of the home nations.

NHS England today declared 13 victims in hospitals across the country. Wales recorded two in all settings. No fatalities were registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

For comparison, 89 deaths were officially recorded yesterday and 83 were declared last Wednesday. Around 60 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.

In other developments today:

  • Aberdeen was put back into lockdown as Nicola Sturgeon revealed pubs, cafes and restaurants will be shut and people would be banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes;
  • Britain’s jobs bloodbath continued with hundreds of jobs axed at high street giants WH Smith and M&Co, meaning the number of workers facing redundancy as a result of the Covid crisis is now above 100,000;
  • One of Britain’s leading hair loss clinics reported a link between Covid-19 and hair loss after survivors complained the disease caused their locks to fall out in clumps three months after their battle;
  • France could lose control of its coronavirus outbreak at any time, according to the country’s top scientific body that warned a second wave was highly likely; 
  • Delaying quarantine measures at the border was a ‘serious mistake’ that allowed 10,000 infected people into the UK accelerated the virus spread, a major report by MPs warned.

The UK also recorded another 89 deaths, meaning 60 people are dying a day on average. Just nine deaths were recorded yesterday — but counts are always lower on Mondays because of a recording lag at weekends. For comparison, Government figures show 119 victims were announced last Tuesday

ABERDEEN IS PUT BACK INTO LOCKDOWN 

Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown as pubs, cafes and restaurants were shut and people were banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 infections have now been reported in the outbreak – double yesterday’s figure – and all indoor and outdoor hospitality venues were ordered to close by 5pm today.

She said the rise in cases heightens fears the Scottish Government is ‘dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may include some community transmission’. Residents were told not to enter each other’s houses.

It comes a day after the Queen and Prince Philip landed at Aberdeen Airport where they were met by a driver and whisked off to the Balmoral estate, which is roughly an hour away. Their staff in Scotland have been quarantined for two weeks to minimise the Covid risk, and the couple are expected to stay there until early October.

The Aberdeen lockdown also comes just six days after parts of the North West of England were also put back under restrictions, with 4.5million people in Manchester facing £100 fines if they breach the rules.

 

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 670 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 802. 

It was the first time the rate had been above 800 since July 2. For comparison, the rate was 697 last Tuesday and has been on the up for more than a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 306,293. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.  

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18. 

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

Separate figures — released yesterday — revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.

It comes as Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown as officials announced pubs, cafes and restaurants will shut and people will be banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

Large crowds of revellers gather outside Soul Bar on Union Street in Aberdeen city centre on Saturday evening

Large crowds of revellers gather outside Soul Bar on Union Street in Aberdeen city centre on Saturday evening

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered all indoor and outdoor hospitality venues to close by 5pm today because of a cluster of 54 cases.

She said the rise in cases heightens fears Scotland is ‘dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may include some community transmission’. Residents were told not to enter each other’s houses.

It comes a day after the Queen and Prince Philip landed at Aberdeen Airport where they were met by a driver and whisked off to the Balmoral estate, which is roughly an hour away. 

Their staff in Scotland have been quarantined for a fortnight to minimise the Covid risk, and the couple are expected to stay there until early October.

The Aberdeen lockdown also comes just six days after parts of the North West of England were also put back under restrictions, with 4.5million people in Manchester facing £100 fines if they breach the rules.

TV presenter Brian Black dies after his car plunges into water at a harbour in Northern Ireland 

TV presenter Brian Black dies after his car plunges into water at a harbour in Northern Ireland

  • His car was pulled from Strangford Harbour, in Co Down, Northern Ireland
  • He was rescued out the car and taken to hospital where he died from his injuries 
  • His colleagues and family have posted tributes on social media to the journalist 

UTV presenter Brian Black’s car dived into a harbour causing injuries that he later died from. 

Mr Black, aged in his 70s, was pulled from Strangford Harbour, in Co Down, Northern Ireland, after bystanders reported a car in the water. 

Emergency services responded and he was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital  but he died from his injuries. 

A car was pulled out the water of the harbour in Strangford, Co Down in Northern Ireland after Brian Black died aged in his 70s

Portaferry RNLI said they and the Portaferry Coastguard recovered the car and one casualty

Portaferry RNLI said they and the Portaferry Coastguard recovered the car and one casualty 

Brian Black was an environmental journalist at UTV and many of his colleagues have written tributes for him

Brian Black was an environmental journalist at UTV and many of his colleagues have written tributes for him

Northern Ireland’s Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, Coastguard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution all responded to the call on Tuesday, the Mirror reported. 

There is video footage and photographs showing the car being lifted out of the water at the harbour.    

RNLI told the Belfast Telegraph ‘Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 11.30am this morning by Belfast Coastguard following a report of a car in the water. 

‘Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry Coastguard recovered a casualty from the water who was subsequently transferred to hospital.’ 

Mr Black was known for reporting on environmental issues and UTV’s political editor Ken Reid was among many to pay tribute to the presenter. 

He tweeted: ‘Devastated. My old UTV colleague Brian Black has been killed in a tragic accident. 

‘He was a special man, great communicator with a special passion for improving our environment. 

‘The UTV family is in a state of shock at the loss. RIP.’   

He was particularly passionate about the arctic and won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland's Press and Broadcast Awards several times

He was particularly passionate about the arctic and won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland’s Press and Broadcast Awards several times

Photographer Kevin McAuley shared to social media: ‘Very sad news breaking about Brian Black he was one of a kind great environmentalist, programme maker and presenter.

‘What a sad way to go. I worked long side Brian on many shoots in North Antrim Fair Head and Rathlin Island. Brian RIP.’ 

Mr Black won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland’s Press and Broadcast Awards several times. 

TV presenter Brian Black dies after his car plunges into water at a harbour in Northern Ireland 

TV presenter Brian Black dies after his car plunges into water at a harbour in Northern Ireland

  • His car was pulled from Strangford Harbour, in Co Down, Northern Ireland
  • He was rescued out the car and taken to hospital where he died from his injuries 
  • His colleagues and family have posted tributes on social media to the journalist 

UTV presenter Brian Black’s car dived into a harbour causing injuries that he later died from. 

Mr Black, aged in his 70s, was pulled from Strangford Harbour, in Co Down, Northern Ireland, after bystanders reported a car in the water. 

Emergency services responded and he was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital  but he died from his injuries. 

A car was pulled out the water of the harbour in Strangford, Co Down in Northern Ireland after Brian Black died aged in his 70s

Portaferry RNLI said they and the Portaferry Coastguard recovered the car and one casualty

Portaferry RNLI said they and the Portaferry Coastguard recovered the car and one casualty 

Brian Black was an environmental journalist at UTV and many of his colleagues have written tributes for him

Brian Black was an environmental journalist at UTV and many of his colleagues have written tributes for him

Northern Ireland’s Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, Coastguard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution all responded to the call on Tuesday, the Mirror reported. 

There is video footage and photographs showing the car being lifted out of the water at the harbour.    

RNLI told the Belfast Telegraph ‘Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 11.30am this morning by Belfast Coastguard following a report of a car in the water. 

‘Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry Coastguard recovered a casualty from the water who was subsequently transferred to hospital.’ 

Mr Black was known for reporting on environmental issues and UTV’s political editor Ken Reid was among many to pay tribute to the presenter. 

He tweeted: ‘Devastated. My old UTV colleague Brian Black has been killed in a tragic accident. 

‘He was a special man, great communicator with a special passion for improving our environment. 

‘The UTV family is in a state of shock at the loss. RIP.’   

He was particularly passionate about the arctic and won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland's Press and Broadcast Awards several times

He was particularly passionate about the arctic and won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland’s Press and Broadcast Awards several times

Photographer Kevin McAuley shared to social media: ‘Very sad news breaking about Brian Black he was one of a kind great environmentalist, programme maker and presenter.

‘What a sad way to go. I worked long side Brian on many shoots in North Antrim Fair Head and Rathlin Island. Brian RIP.’ 

Mr Black won the the Environmental Journalist of the Year award at Northern Ireland’s Press and Broadcast Awards several times. 

UK records just five Covid-19 deaths in preliminary toll

Britain today recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections in almost six weeks, after nearly a thousand people were diagnosed with the life-threatening disease in just 24 hours.  

Some 938 Britons tested positive for Covid-19, up a fifth on yesterday’s figure (789) and nearly 40 per cent more than the 678 recorded last Monday. Not since June 27 — a week before pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas opened when lockdown was lifted on ‘Super Saturday’ — have daily cases been so high (960). 

But figures show only 100 patients are being hospitalised each day, suggesting that an increase in the number of tests given out to people with mild symptoms is behind the climbing transmission rates.  

The most recent figures on admissions — which only go up to August 1 because of delays in hospital registrations — shows that 104 people were hospitalised with the virus in England and Wales on July 31. During the darkest days of the UK’s coronavirus crisis in April, around 3,500 people were being taken to hospital each day after being struck down by the infection. 

Health chiefs also recorded nine more Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of victims in the pandemic to 46,225. All of today’s deaths occurred in England. Just eight deaths were officially recorded yesterday and seven lab-confirmed fatalities were posted last Monday. But figures are always lower than normal on Sundays and Mondays because of a recording lag at weekends.

It comes as Downing Street today refused to rule out effectively sealing off London if coronavirus cases begin to spike, like official figures suggest they have in now locked-down parts of North West England such as Greater Manchester.

Boris Johnson held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to run through possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease. Drastic plans being considered could see people banned from leaving the towns or cities they live in, with entire areas turned into no-go zones.

In other coronavirus developments today: 

  • Britons are already making the most of a 50 per cent discount on meals and soft drinks after a new scheme launched this morning at more than half of the UK’s restaurants, cafes and pubs;
  • Spain urged Britain to lift its coronavirus quarantine on the Balearic and Canary islands, claiming that new data showed the popular holiday destinations are safe for tourists;
  • Two new game-changing tests that give results in just 90 minutes will be offered to millions of Britons in a major advance in the war on coronavirus;
  • Boris Johnson was told he should prioritise getting young people to follow social-distancing rules before targeting over-50s with another lockdown; 
  • A top scientist has slammed the ‘shroud of secrecy’ around the government’s coronavirus decisions — as civil servants rebel over Boris Johnson’s call for people to return to offices;
  • The Government will start testing sewage to track coronavirus and could ban domestic travel to stop local outbreaks;
  • Beauty spot residents are bracing for a fresh stampede of revellers as a major ‘African heat flare’ is set to roast Britain in a ten-day heatwave with temperatures set to reach as high as 91F (33C).

WHY AREN’T HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS RISING?

Figures show only 100 patients are being hospitalised each day, suggesting that an increase in the number of tests given out to people with mild symptoms is behind the climbing transmission rates.  

The most recent figures on admissions — which only go up to August 1 because of delays in hospital registrations — shows that 104 people were hospitalised with the virus in England and Wales on July 31. The figure was around 130 two weeks before, showing that it is still dropping but not as quickly.

During the darkest days of the UK’s coronavirus crisis in April, around 3,500 people were being taken to hospital each day after being struck down by the potentially life-threatening infection. 

Around 131,000 people have been admitted to hospital with the coronavirus since the outbreak began to spiral out of control in March — approximately 43 per cent of everyone infected. But that figure is known to be wildly inaccurate because millions of people will have been infected with the virus without ever showing symptoms.

More than 1,200 coronavirus patients are currently in hospital getting treatment — a fraction of the 20,000 during the worst days of Britain’s Covid-19 outbreak in the first two weeks of April. But the number of Brits in hospital is also still declining, though at a much slower rate than it once was.

Department of Health chiefs yesterday announced that another 938 people tested positive for the virus, taking the rolling seven-day average to 789. 

In comparison, the rate was 678 last Monday and has been on the up for more than a fortnight amid growing fears of a resurgence.

Government statistics show the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 305,623. But the actual size of the outbreak is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.

The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.

And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.

The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.

For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.

Nine deaths were recorded today, meaning around 64 people are succumbing to the illness each day, on average. 

But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rate having been in the sixties since July 18. 

It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won’t be immediately apparent in government figures.

It comes as scientists modelling the UK’s epidemic say the coronavirus reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1 in the North West of England. 

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate the ‘R’ level has risen well above the danger zone in the North West, where 4.5million people were put under tough new lockdown measures last week because of a spike in cases.

The R – which represents the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient passes the disease to – must stay below 1 or the virus will start to grow exponentially. 

The data, compiled by the university’s Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, suggests cases in the region could double in 56 days if the R rate is not squashed. 

But the estimates are slightly out of date due to a lag in the way the reproduction rate is calculated, meaning they only go up to July 18. Any effect last week’s lockdown might’ve had on the R value won’t show up in the figures for several weeks.

Separate worrying figures published by Public Health England today show that infection rates increased in nine out of 10 boroughs in Manchester between July 22 and 29, two days before the new rules were introduced. Rochdale was the only place where cases were not on the rise but infections have now also started to dip in Wigan and Bolton after a weekend of lockdown measures.

Oldham, the second worst affected borough in England, saw 148 cases over the week — taking its rate from 41.6 to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people. Rates in both the City of Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days. 

A map of London shows the weekly infection rates — how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 — across the capital's 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

A map of London shows the weekly infection rates — how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 — across the capital’s 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

CORONAVIRUS R RATE COULD BE AS HIGH AS 1.1 IN THE NORTH WEST 

The coronavirus reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1 in the North West of England, according to figures released today — as separate data revealed infections have doubled in a week in locked-down parts of Greater Manchester.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate the ‘R’ level has risen well above the danger zone in the North West, where 4.5million people were put under tough new lockdown measures last week because of a spike in cases. 

The R – which represents the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient passes the disease to – must stay below 1 or the virus will start to grow exponentially.

The data, compiled by the university’s Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, suggests cases in the region could double in 56 days if the R rate is not squashed. 

But the estimates are slightly out of date due to a lag in the way the reproduction rate is calculated, meaning they only go up to July 18. Any effect last week’s lockdown might’ve had on the R value won’t show up in the figures for several weeks.

Separate worrying figures published by Public Health England today show that infection rates increased in nine out of 10 boroughs in Manchester between July 22 and 29, two days before the new rules were introduced. 

Rochdale was the only place where cases were not on the rise but infections have now also started to dip in Wigan and Bolton after a weekend of lockdown measures.

Oldham, the second worst affected borough in England, saw 148 cases over the week — taking its rate from 41.6 to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people. Rates in both the City of Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days.

Local public health officials who were privy to the PHE data declared a ‘major incident’  in Greater Manchester over the weekend due to the rapidly escalating transmission rates. The alert level is normally reserved for major floods or terror attacks. 

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the Manchester Evening News that the figures ‘underline the need for caution and to follow the guidance. All 2.8million residents in Greater Manchester were banned from meeting anyone from different households inside their homes or in gardens, in a drastic move that was announced with just three hours’ notice last Friday.

The ban, also applied to parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, extended to pubs and restaurants — but those businesses are permitted to remain open for people visiting individually or from the same household. But young people are still flocking to packed pubs, with large groups of friends gathering at busy nightspots on Saturday. Ministers have been urged to encourage youngsters to abide by the rules, which are designed to halt the spread of the virus and give the economy chance to recover. 

No10 today refused to rule out effectively sealing off London in a Manchester-style lockdown if coronavirus cases spike as Sadiq Khan accused Boris Johnson of ‘riding roughshod’ over the city’s best interests.

The Mayor of London has written to the PM to voice ‘great surprise’ at suggestions a quarantine zone could be created within the M25, complaining that it has been 12 weeks since he was invited to a Cobra meeting and the lack of consultation is ‘unacceptable’.

Mr Johnson held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to run through possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease.

Measures considered included lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital, according to the Times.

Downing Street said the government’s ‘Contain’ strategy set out that restrictions can be imposed on transport links ‘if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. But the PM’s spokesman said that was not only a possibility for London — as any location could be subject to similar curbs.

Official figures show the worst-hit area of the capital is currently Hackney and the City of London, with 19.4 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31. It is a lower rate than that of seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control growing outbreaks. 

A letter sent to Mr Johnson from Mr Khan and chair of London Councils, Peter John, said: ‘It is with great surprise that we read in the Sunday papers that Government held a critical exercise last week in which a major resurgence in Covid-19 infections in London was a central scenario.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated the R rate for all regions in the UK by drawing on figures from Public Health England, the NHS and Office for National Statistics to aggregate case data

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated the R rate for all regions in the UK by drawing on figures from Public Health England, the NHS and Office for National Statistics to aggregate case data

After escaping the first epidemic relatively unscathed, the South East has also seen its R creep up to 1, the researchers say

After escaping the first epidemic relatively unscathed, the South East has also seen its R creep up to 1, the researchers say

NO10 REFUSES TO RULE OUT SEALING OFF LONDON IF CASES SPIKE 

No10 today refused to rule out effectively sealing off London if coronavirus cases spike as Sadiq Khan accused Boris Johnson of ‘riding roughshod’ over the city’s best interests.

The Mayor of London has written to the PM to voice ‘great surprise’ at suggestions a quarantine zone could be created within the M25, complaining that it has been 12 weeks since he was invited to a Cobra meeting and the lack of consultation is ‘unacceptable’.

Mr Johnson held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to run through possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease.

Measures being considered included lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital. Drastic plans could also reportedly see people banned from leaving the towns or cities they live in, with entire areas turned into no-go zones.

Downing Street said the government’s ‘Contain’ strategy set out that restrictions can be imposed on transport links ‘if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. But the PM’s spokesman said that was not only a possibility for London — as any location could be subject to similar curbs.

Official figures show the worst-hit area of the capital is currently Hackney and the City of London, with 19.4 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31. It is a lower rate than that of seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control growing outbreaks. 

‘According to media reports, the plans included using the M25 as a quarantine ring – effectively sealing off the city.

‘Our surprise is that such far-reaching contingency plans have been discussed and tested without the involvement or awareness of London’s government.

‘This is clearly totally unacceptable and an affront to London and Londoners.’

The letter also said the Government has been slow to take decisions or has taken the wrong decisions ‘time and again throughout this crisis’, adding: ‘This must stop.

‘Riding roughshod over democratically elected representatives who understand their communities better than central Government will lead to worse outcomes for Londoners, and the country as a whole.’

In a tweet, Mr Khan said: ‘Excluding local leaders in this way won’t help us control the virus and must stop now.’

Downing Street said the ability to impose travel restrictions had been set out in its strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus but denied it was a plan specifically drawn up for the capital. 

The ‘Contain’ strategy sets out ‘the possibility of putting in place restrictions on travel if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. 

‘One of the steps within that potentially includes closing down local transport networks,’ the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said. 

‘It’s there, it’s contained in the document, it’s not a new thing – we have informed the public and politicians of that being a potential action that we could take. But, to be clear, it’s not something that is specific to London or anywhere else.’ 

Meanwhile, a top scientist has slammed the ‘shroud of secrecy’ around the government’s coronavirus decisions.

Sir Paul Nurse, chief of the Francis Crick Institute, raised concerns that crucial choices seemed to be made by a ‘black box’ in Whitehall with the results sometimes ‘shambolic’. 

He insisted more transparency and scrutiny was needed to get the ‘best results’.

The intervention came as the government faces a fresh backlash about mixed messaging. Treasury subsidies for eating out at restaurants are launched today, and advice that everyone should work from home is being downgraded.

However, there are also mounting rumours about tightening coronavirus rules in some areas, with fears of a looming second wave.

Civil servants have complained they are being used as guinea pigs for the return to offices, with claims of more cases at the heart of government over the past fortnight.