LONDON (Reuters) – The weekly number of positive COVID-19 cases in England jumped 43% at the end of August compared to the previous week, according to the latest data released on Thursday, a day after the government introduced new restrictions on social gatherings.
NHS Test and Trace said 9,864 new people tested positive for COVID-19 in England in the week from Aug.27 to Sept.2, the highest number of weekly positive cases since the tracking service was launched in May, in what it called a “notable increase”.
The number of cases across Britain has begun to rise sharply in recent days, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban groups of more than six people from meeting, as the government tries to keep the spread of the virus under control.
On Wednesday, the UK reported 2,659 confirmed new cases of COVID-19, slightly below the almost 3,000 new cases reported on Sunday and Monday. But cases are tracking much higher than the levels of around 1,000 per day recorded in August.
The Test and Trace scheme is seen as key to locating outbreaks quickly. The government wants to use local lockdowns to reduce transmission in COVID-19 hotspots while allowing life elsewhere to continue closer to normal.
In its weekly update, the Test and Trace scheme said 32,359 people were identified as having come into close contact with someone who had tested positive between Aug.27 and Sept.2, and that 69% of those were reached and asked to self-isolate.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Michael Holden and Stephen Addison)