The UK’s daily number of coronavirus cases rose to 1,522 in the past 24 hours – the highest tally since mid-June.
This is still well below the 5,000 new cases per day in April, at the height of the epidemic.
Cases increased across Europe and started to increase slightly in the UK in July, after dropping in June.
A number of areas have seen a spike in infections, with Birmingham and Northampton the latest affected places.
- How many confirmed cases are there in your area?
- Where are the coronavirus hotspots in the world?
And experts suspect that a relatively small number of parts of the UK are responsible for an increase in new cases.
Testing has also increased in recent weeks, which means more people infected with the virus are being detected.
The latest weekly test of people in thousands of private households, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), considered the most accurate picture of new infections, suggested cases were stabilizing.
The new weekly figures from the ONS will be released on Friday.
Meanwhile, the number of people admitted to hospital and dying from Covid-19 is dropping.
The government reported on Thursday that 41,477 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for the coronavirus – an increase of 12 the day before.
Separate figures released by the ONS show that there are now 57,200 registered deaths in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
How worried should we be?
This increase must be placed in context.
While any increase in cases is concerning, we are now testing more than two months ago.
The more you search for the virus, the more you will find.
The increase we’ve seen since early July – when the average rate was half of what it is now – can’t be fully explained by more testing, but it is certainly a key factor.
The other thing to remember is where we came from.
At the height of the pandemic, we couldn’t do mass testing, so we don’t know exactly how many cases there were. But the best estimates are that there were around 100,000 new infections a day at the end of March.
It is unrealistic to expect cases to drop to zero.
What’s important now is that we continue to fight the virus – and limit any increases. This requires identifying hot spots and keeping a cover over them.
There is every indication that areas that have been placed with additional restrictions in recent weeks are seeing a decrease in the number of cases.
The rise in national power – certainly at this point – is not as alarming as it seems. But there can be no room for complacency.