Covid cases hit a three-month high today and hospital admissions jumped again — but deaths fell.
The Department of Health’s daily update showed there were 42,776 positive tests across the country in the last 24 hours, up by seven per cent on the previous week.
The figure is the highest recorded since July 21, when 44,104 infections were posted and marks the eighth day in a row of rising cases.
Meanwhile, hospital admissions rose by 10.4 per cent week-on-week to 754, while deaths dropped by five per cent to 136.
Both measures lag behind case numbers by a few weeks, due to the time it takes for someone to become seriously unwell after catching the virus.
It comes amid growing fears the fourth wave is just around the corner, with infections now ticking up in almost every age group.
England recorded 36,458 new infections, 2,581 cases were confirmed in Scotland, while 2,266 were spotted in Wales and 1,471 in Northern Ireland.
Infections south of the border are fuelling the UK-wide rise, with cases in England reaching their highest level since July 21, when 39,504 cases were recorded.
The latest wave in the country peaked at around 50,000 in mid-July, before flattening out. But infection rates appear to be on the rise again.
Meanwhile, the number of positive tests recorded in Scotland and Wales appears to be falling in Scotland and Wales and is flat in Northern Ireland.
Some 8.2million positive tests have been registered across the UK since the pandemic began. But the real infection number is many millions higher, due to the limited testing capacity at the start of the crisis and not everyone who catches the virus coming forward for a test.
Sir Patrick Vallance, No10’s Chief Scientific Officer, said earlier this week that cases in the UK are ‘basically flat’, which shows there is an ‘equilibrium’ between immunity and the number of contacts people have.
But he warned figures can move ‘in one direction or another’, so if everyone starts making twice as many contacts, infections will ‘go up quite quickly’.
So it is a ‘balancing act’ with people’s behaviours and keeping immunity high, he said. The UK is ‘not out of the woods’, Sir Patrick added.
Some 49.2million first doses of the vaccine have been dished out and 45.2million second doses have been administered. The figures equate to 85.6 per cent of over-12s having at least one jab and 78.7 per cent being fully immunised.
But the Department of Health is not yet publishing daily figures for the number of Britons coming forward for booster jabs.
ENGLAND: recorded daily 36,458 positive tests – the highest number since July 21, when 39,504 cases were registered
SCOTLAND: spotted 2,581 infections in the last day, as infections appear to be evening out. Scotland had a month-long drop in rates following a spike that was fuelled by pupils returning to classrooms
WALES: registered 2,266 new infections and infections appear to be relatively flat in the country
NORTHERN IRELAND: posted another 1,471 cases in the last 24-hours. Infections have been flat in the country throughout the summer