ANOTHER 3,497 people have tested positive for coronavirus overnight in the highest Saturday rise since May as new cases in the UK continue to soar.
Nine more people have also lost their lives to the deadly bug – as Britain’s grim tally rises to 41,623.
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Yesterday’s rise in new cases – 3,539 – was the highest recorded on any day since May 17.
The news comes ahead of Monday’s stricter lockdown laws, which will see groups limited to just six people.
Officials are reinstating draconian measures amid fears the virus is rising out of control.
Eight people who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died in hospitals in England.
Patients were aged between 61 and 91, and all had known underlying health conditions.
In both Scotland and Wales, no new deaths have been recorded.
However, in Scotland, daily coronavirus cases have also hit a four-month high, with total of 221 people testing positive – the highest daily figure since May 8.
The figures for Northern Ireland aren’t yet available.
The discrepancy in the figures is based on when they were recorded.
The Department for Health figure for the UK also takes into account deaths that occurred outside hospitals, for example in care homes and other settings, in the past day.
It comes as:
- Brits are warned against enjoying a ‘party weekend’ before the new lockdown measures come into force
- Hundreds of people were forced to queue for five HOURS to get a coronavirus test in Bury
- An Ibiza clubber who threw a party rather than self-isolating has been linked to a spike in cases in Bolton
- Illnesses like flu and pneumonia are killing more Brits than coronavirus, according to stats
- The crucial R rate could be as high as 2.5 in the north-east, experts say
A top academic says he fears the spike in cases is down to the success of Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
More than 100million discount meals were claimed during the popular initiative – but there has since been a “rapid acceleration” in coronavirus cases.
That’s according to a new report by Oxford University researcher Toby Phillips, which says the scheme could have “encouraged extravagant levels of eating out”.
The report claims eateries had already almost recovered from lockdown when the scheme began.
It was published after it was revealed this week that the crucial R rate soared to 1.7, with Matt Hancock warning the rise – which he says is fuelled by young Brits - justifies the strict new rule of six.
Ministers also announced a partial lockdown in Birmingham and two neighbouring boroughs yesterday.
The shutdown affects more than 1.6million people.
There are fears millions of people living in Newcastle, Leeds and Merseyside will be the next affected by stricter lockdowns.
The areas are among the coronavirus hotspots added to the Government’s watch list.
In a bid to halt the rising number of new cases, everyone in England has been ordered to comply with stringent new measures from next week.
And he announced plans to spend £100BILLION on Operation Moonshot, which could see every Brit in the UK getting a test.
It’s understood the PM is also considering new proposals that will see those who flout self-isolation advice hit with fines - while people can shop those who don’t comply via a new ‘quarantine hotline’.
Meanwhile, coronavirus infections have surged among middle-aged Brits as vases in over-50s rocketed by 92 per cent last week.
Senior government officials have said the rise in cases in higher risk groups is “worrying” as Downing Street looks to stem the spread of the bug heading into the winter.
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Yvonne Doyle, medical director of PHE, said of the rise in cases among over-50s: “Although younger people continue to make up the greatest share of new cases, we’re now starting to see worrying signs of infections occurring in the elderly, who are at far higher risk of getting seriously ill.”
Until Friday, coronavirus cases had predominantly been rising among under-25s – who are statistically at far less risk of severe health complications from contracting the virus.
But the new spike in infections in older-age groups has also resulted in an increase in hospital admissions, which were up 20 per cent last week compared with the week before among those aged 60 to 75.
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