10 Sep Coronavirus: Weekly cases highest since Test and Trace system launched | UK News
There has been a 43% increase in the weekly number of coronavirus cases in England, according to new figures.
In the seven days to 2 September, a total of 9,864 people tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the highest weekly number since the government’s Test and Trace system was launched at the end of May.
The rise comes despite the number of people being tested levelling off.
Positive cases have been rising since the start of July and are now 12% higher than the number recorded when the scheme began on 28 May.
The number of people newly tested increased from mid-June, but has levelled off over the last five weeks.
Also in the week to 2 September, around 30% of close contacts of people who tested positive were not reached by contact tracers.
The figure of 69.2% who were reached is the lowest weekly percentage since the system was up and running.
The number is down slightly from 69.8% in the previous week.
For coronavirus cases handled by local health protection teams, 96.6% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to September 2.
By contrast, for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 61.3% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.
Contacts were more likely to be reached in the South West and South East than they were in the North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire.
Just 42% of contacts have been reached in Bradford for cases handled online or by call centres. This is the lowest proportion for any local authority area in England.
For cases in Peterborough, 46% of contacts have been reached, for Blackburn with Darwen the figure is 48%, and for Kirklees and also Nottingham the number is 49%.
Baroness Dido Harding, who is interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, has defended the effectiveness of the system.
She said: “NHS Test and Trace is working and every week we consistently reach the majority of people testing positive and their contacts.
“We have now reached almost 360,000 people who may be at risk of unknowingly passing on the virus, helping to curb its spread.”
But she added: “For those who don’t have symptoms or haven’t been told they must have a test, we would please ask you to reconsider as it could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it.”
Meanwhile, the government says there have been another 2,919 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, taking the UK total to 358,138.
A further 14 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, with the total number of fatalities now 41,608.
Amid the spike in nationwide infections, the prime minister has pinned hopes on a new massive testing regime being piloted in England next month.
Asked by Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby whether without a mass testing regime in place people should accept having smaller gatherings at Christmas, the PM said “it is just too early to say”.
However, he said he is “hopeful” the new restrictions will get the current spike down.
Also, Scotland is to limit social gatherings to a maximum of six people from two households – both indoors and outdoors, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Coronavirus rules in the nation had previously stated up to eight people from three different households were allowed to meet indoors.