Home News Britain records 15,650 more Covid-19 cases and 136 deaths

Britain records 15,650 more Covid-19 cases and 136 deaths


Britain recorded another 15,650 new cases of coronavirus and 136 deaths today as Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a TV briefing to warn people the outbreak is still growing and that he will ‘rule out nothing’ to stop the second wave repeated the disaster of the spring.

A raft of statistics published this afternoon show cases are still surging in England by as many as 28,000 new infections per day, according to ONS estimates for the first week of October, and the R rate remains higher than one in all corners of the UK. 

SAGE said it has seen no evidence that the outbreak has slowed down since mid-September and cautioned it ‘is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing.’  

Although the numbers are considerably higher than anything since the first wave in the spring and the highest of all the ONS’s data for the past five months, they still pale in comparison to March’s outbreak, when more than 100,000 people were catching the virus every day.

And both the ONS’s report and separate data from the King’s College London Covid Symptom Study – both of which release data once a week to estimate the true scale of Britain’s ongoing outbreak – suggest that the speed at which the crisis is escalating has dropped. While the ONS’s estimate of daily infections more than doubled from 8,400 to 17,200 at the end of September – a 104 per cent increase – this week’s figures marked a rise of 64 per cent. 

The increase in King’s College’s project has slowed, too, with it projecting a rise of more than 116 per cent in mid-September but this has since dropped to 28 per cent to October 11. Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Symptom Study, said: ‘The data is no longer showing the exponential increases that we were seeing a couple of weeks ago.’

Separate official data also revealed almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week, amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country. In contrast, only two saw a dip the week before.  

Today’s figures come as Lancashire will become only the second place to enter the toughest Tier Three restrictions and London and Essex will face Tier Two rules from midnight, joining swathes of the Midlands and the North meaning most people in three out of the country’s seven regions will be banned from meeting with friends and family indoors as England creeps back into lockdown piece by piece. 

The R rate remains stable for the UK as a whole but it has dropped for the second week in a row in England, falling from a possible range of 1.3 to 1.6 on October 2 to 1.2 to 1.4 today. But SAGE warned today it is 'confident transmission is not slowing' and that cases will continue to grow exponentially for as long as R remains above one

The R rate remains stable for the UK as a whole but it has dropped for the second week in a row in England, falling from a possible range of 1.3 to 1.6 on October 2 to 1.2 to 1.4 today. But SAGE warned today it is ‘confident transmission is not slowing’ and that cases will continue to grow exponentially for as long as R remains above one

Test positivity data from Public Health England shows that the proportion of tests taken that have positive results has soared in September and early October, so that 7.1 per cent of all tests taken are now positive - one in every 14  swabs

Test positivity data from Public Health England shows that the proportion of tests taken that have positive results has soared in September and early October, so that 7.1 per cent of all tests taken are now positive – one in every 14  swabs

The proportions of people testing positive for coronavirus is now up in all regions of England but the data shows what Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway described as a 'spark of light amongst the gloom' in a hint that the increase may be slowing in the North East and Yorkshire & The Humber. It is too soon, however, to say whether it is a real trend or a quirk in the statistics

The proportions of people testing positive for coronavirus is now up in all regions of England but the data shows what Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway described as a ‘spark of light amongst the gloom’ in a hint that the increase may be slowing in the North East and Yorkshire & The Humber. It is too soon, however, to say whether it is a real trend or a quirk in the statistics

R RATE FALLS FOR SECOND WEEK IN ENGLAND BUT ‘NO EVIDENCE OF SLOWING’ 

Government scientists estimate that the R rate for all parts of the UK remains above one – between 1.3 and 1.5 – meaning the outbreak is continuing to grow, but it has fallen in England for two weeks in a row to around 1.2 to 1.4.

The UK’s rate has shifted upwards slightly with the lower bound of the estimate increasing from 1.2 to 1.3, but the upper limit has not changed in a week.

England’s R rate was estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.6 on October 2 but the range has since dropped to 1.2 to 1.4. 

In the past week the projected rate fell in London and the North East and Yorkshire, rose in the East, South East and North West, and was unchanged in the South West and Midlands.

But SAGE warned R rates do not need to increase for the outbreak to get worse, and any figure above one means the virus is spreading quickly.   

‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing,’ the group warned.

‘There is no clear evidence that the epidemic’s trajectory has changed in the past month.

‘While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate. This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country.’   

REGION

  • UK
  • ENGLAND
  • East
  • London
  • Midlands
  • North East & Yorkshire
  • North West
  • South East
  • South West 

R RATE ESTIMATE 

  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up in a week)
  • 1.2 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.1 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.2 – 1.5 (no change)
  • 1.3 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.3 – 1.6 (no change) 

In other key developments today:

  • One of the Government’s SAGE advisers suggested that a series of ‘circuit breakers’ could be needed, planned around school holidays, to get the outbreak under control;
  • Wales is preparing to defy the PM by bringing in its own ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – as an ‘unenforceable’ travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots travelling to Wales comes takes effect tonight;
  • London is in its last day before Tier Two restrictions come into force, meaning around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors;
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he took ‘very seriously’ allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous. 

The ONS estimates that around 0.62 per cent of the population of England was infected with coronavirus during the week from October 2 to October 8. 

This is the highest estimate it has produced since data began in late April and a marked surge from 0.41 per cent a week earlier (ending October 1).

‘In recent weeks there has been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19,’ the report said. It added that the rates were currently highest in older teenagers and young adults. 

‘Smaller increases are also apparent across all of the other age groups, apart from individuals aged 70 and over,’ the ONS said.

‘There is clear evidence of variation in Covid-19 infection rates across the regions of England, with highest rates seen in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East, which have all seen steep increases in recent weeks.’

The random testing programme’s results were this week based on results from 211,851 swab tests. A total of 1,062 tests were positive from 926 people living in 723 households.

Using this data and applying it statistically to the entire population – taking into account where the people who tested positive were living and how old they were, for example – the researchers can estimate the true size of the outbreak in England.

The official Department of Health testing programme does not pick up all infections because a majority of people have no symptoms when they’re infected with Covid-19. 

In the week up to October 8, to match the ONS study’s time period, an average 12,781 people were diagnosed each day in England, suggesting fewer than half of people (46 per cent) who catch the virus actually get tested and have a positive result.

The ONS results are ‘gloomy’ once again, said one scientist, but pointed out there were tentative signs that increases in infections were starting to slow in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. 

BORIS JOHNSON LASHES OUT AT ANDY BURNHAM’S LACK OF LEADERSHIP

Boris Johnson today demanded Greater Manchester leaders focus on ‘saving lives’ as he hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level.

The PM sent a stark message to mayor Andy Burnham and Tory ‘Red Wall’ MPs after a deal was announced to extend Tier Three curbs.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.

However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million.

But the standoff over Greater Manchester looks to be deepening, with the government warning it will not be ‘held over a barrel’ by Mr Burnham.

Mr Burnham reiterated his demand for more financial support today, after saying the North was being treated like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ and a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions. He has claimed that if London – which enters Tier Two from tomorrow – was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.

But speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Johnson warned that efforts to extract the maximum money from government will not work.

‘This is about saving lives,’ he said. ‘This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.

‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’ 

Mr Johnson is also facing mounting pressure from his own SAGE experts to trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze across the country over half-term – with one scientist even suggesting the process might need to be repeated again and again until a vaccine becomes available.

‘The very broad message is much the same gloomy one as in last week’s ONS bulletin,’ said Professor Kevin McConway, a professor of statistics at the Open University.

‘The estimate of the number of people in the whole English community population that would test positive for the virus has continued to increase, with no clear sign that the rate of increase is slowing. 

‘The same is true for the estimate of the daily number of new infections.’

He added: ‘What’s new is that, in two of these regions [North East and Yorkshire & The Humber] there are signs that the increases are levelling off. 

‘ONS, rightly in my view, urge caution about interpreting these signs – there’s quite a lot of statistical uncertainty in the numbers, and a levelling off over just one week might not indicate a more permanent slowing, let alone a clear downturn. 

‘But at least it’s a spark of light amongst the gloom. In the North West there’s not yet any sign of such a slowing. Indeed, in the regions in the Midlands and South that’s also the case, though the infection rates there remain quite a lot smaller than in the three Northern regions.’

The King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study has made similar findings to the ONS report.

Based on 13,361 swab tests done between 27 September and 11 October, the team said there were 27,762 people catching symptomatic coronavirus every day during that time across the whole UK. 21,642 of these daily infections were in England. 

They do not include people who don’t get any symptoms, nor hospital or care home patients.

The figures are up from last week but show a smaller rise than what was seen in September, increasing by 27 per cent in a week (UK) compared to a 114 per cent rise between September 17 and 24 but faster than the 11 per cent the week before last.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist in charge of the project, confirmed that his project suggests the rate of increase had slowed.

He said: ‘The data is no longer showing the exponential increases that we were seeing a couple of weeks ago, but is clearly showing new cases continuing to rise. 

‘The North West still has the most cases and the fastest acceleration of cases with doubling times of around 10 days. Slowing this rapid rise is a priority. 

‘Scotland, Wales, London and the Midlands are slowly increasing with a doubling time of 14 to 28 days and the South and East of England remaining relatively flat with five-fold fewer cases than the worst hit regions. 

‘Our data is roughly seven to 10 days ahead of other sources meaning that it acts like an early warning system, whilst we wait for the data from the confirmed cases.’ 

The weekly estimates of true cases provide the clearest indication of what Britain’s coronavirus situation really is.

Department of Health data shows wide variation in infection rates across the city of London which has led to MPs complaining it is unfair to tar the whole city with the same brush

Department of Health data shows wide variation in infection rates across the city of London which has led to MPs complaining it is unfair to tar the whole city with the same brush

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

ALMOST A THIRD OF ENGLAND’S COUNCILS SAW A DROP IN COVID-19 INFECTION RATES LAST WEEK

Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country.

As many as 41 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 11, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report. For comparison, only two saw a dip the week before. 

And only eight registered a surge in cases of more than 50 per cent – 13 times fewer than the week before, when 109 local authorities saw major spikes, suggesting the second wave may be slowing down.

The biggest dip was recorded in the city of Manchester – which the Government is threatening with a tier three lockdown – with a 22 per cent fall in infections from 557.8 to 433.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Southend-on-sea saw the second largest fall, with a 20.5 per cent dip from 42.6 to 33.9 cases per 100,000 people. Slough, outside London, came third with a 19 per cent drop in infections from 86.9 to 70.2 per 100,000.

But many areas still recorded rises in infections – although none saw rates double compared to the 52 areas that recorded this surge last week.

Dorset recorded the biggest spike in infections as its case rate jumped 89 per cent from 25.1 to 47.6 per 100,000. It was followed by Barnsley where cases jumped 66.6 per cent from 149.1 to 248.3 per 100,000, and Sutton where cases leapt 61.9 per cent from 36.8 to 59.6 per 100,000. 

Daily cases are useful but only reveal numbers of people who are getting symptoms of Covid-19. Scientists know that a majority of people who get the illness don’t get noticeably ill with it and many don’t even notice.

Hospitalisations and death counts are the more worrying indicators but these lag weeks or even months behind fast-rising outbreaks, meaning they do not change fast enough to be a basis for action.

By the time deaths get to noticeably higher levels it is generally considered too late to act. 

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, explained this week that case rises now are ‘baking in’ hospital admissions and deaths that will inevitably come in the following weeks as a consequence of infections that have already happened. How many will result remains to be seen. 

Government advisers on SAGE were less optimistic about the data and said in their R rate projection today: ‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing. 

‘There is no clear evidence that the epidemic’s trajectory has changed in the past month.

‘While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate. 

‘This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country.’ 

It comes as some researchers have predicted England may start to record more than 500 daily Covid-19 deaths before the end of the month.

Cambridge University academics, whose estimates feed into No 10’s advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people were getting infected every day in their most recent projection on October 9.

They believe cases are doubling in under seven days, with a ‘substantial proportion’ of those being asymptomatic.

Despite figures showing cases are still much lower than they were at the time of the peak of the spring pandemic, the academics have projected 500 people could die each day by October 29.

This is darker than the bold claims of Number 10’s top two advisers, who warned the figure could reach 200 by the end of the month.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England on Covid-19 confirmed deaths and antibody prevalence is used, alongside information from Google and the ONS on mixing between different age groups, to predict the figures. 

Boris Johnson (pictured today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government's Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham's go-ahead

Mr Burnham said the Government was making Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures - so far only imposed on Liverpool

Boris Johnson (pictured left in No10 today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government’s Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham’s go-ahead

DEATHS ‘COULD HIT 500 PER DAY BY NOVEMBER’

Some researchers predict England may start to record more than 500 daily Covid-19 deaths before the end of the month.

Cambridge University academics, whose estimates feed into No 10’s advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people were getting infected every day in their most recent projection on October 9.

They believe cases are doubling in under seven days, with a ‘substantial proportion’ of those being asymptomatic.

Estimates from Cambridge University and PHE researchers project that the current trajectory of England's outbreak could lead to 500 deaths per day by November. But the Government is already in the process of locking down the country to avoid this

Estimates from Cambridge University and PHE researchers project that the current trajectory of England’s outbreak could lead to 500 deaths per day by November. But the Government is already in the process of locking down the country to avoid this

Despite figures showing cases are still much lower than they were at the time of the peak of the spring pandemic, the academics have projected 500 people could die each day by October 29.

This is darker than the bold claims of Number 10’s top two advisers, who warned the figure could reach 200 by the end of the month. 

It comes as Boris Johnson today demanded Greater Manchester leaders focus on ‘saving lives’ as he hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level.

The PM – who will address the country again at a 4pm press conference – sent a stark message to mayor Andy Burnham and Tory ‘Red Wall’ MPs after a deal was announced to extend Tier Three curbs.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.

However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million.

But the standoff over Greater Manchester looks to be deepening, with the government warning it will not be ‘held over a barrel’ by Mr Burnham.

Mr Burnham reiterated his demand for more financial support today, after saying the North was being treated like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ and a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions. He has claimed that if London – which enters Tier Two from tomorrow – was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.

But speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Johnson warned that efforts to extract the maximum money from government will not work.

‘This is about saving lives,’ he said. ‘This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.

‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’

He added: ‘I’d much rather not impose things, I’d much rather that we were able to work out something together with local authorities, with the mayor in Manchester.

‘But it is up to local leaders to show the kind of leadership that we have seen in Liverpool, in Lancashire and in London.’

Mr Johnson is also facing mounting pressure from his own SAGE experts to trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze across the country over half-term – with one scientist even suggesting the process might need to be repeated again and again until a vaccine becomes available.

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