The number of daily coronavirus infections is at its highest since June 29 and has leapt by a third in two days.
Fears of a second wave sweeping the country are growing after Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned of a surge of cases ‘rolling across Europe’. Yesterday the Government said another 846 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours – up from 763 on Wednesday and 581 the day before.
It is the highest number since June 29 when 815 cases were recorded – the same day that a local lockdown was imposed in Leicester due to an alarming rise of infections.
The emergency restrictions came five days before ‘Super Saturday’ – which saw a number of businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas being allowed to re-open provided they follow precautionary measures.
Last night Hancock announced that separate households in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire, and East Lancashire are banned from meeting indoors due a spike of infections, which he blamed on people flouting social distancing rules while visiting homes of friends and relatives.
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He said the same would apply to Leicester, although the city’s local lockdown has still been partially lifted. Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, museums and cinemas are set to re-open in the East Midlands city from Monday, but leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed for now.
Mayor of Leicester slammed Downing Street over a lack of communication last night, saying ‘we haven’t got a clue what’s going on’ when asked for an update last night.
Sir Peter Soulsby said the city was being ‘messed around’ while MP for Leicester West Liz Kendall called the Government’s handling of the local lockdown ‘utterly shambolic’.
Sir Keir Starmer said announcing the indoor meeting ban ‘late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis’.
He added: ‘When the government ended the daily press conferences, they said they would hold them for “significant announcements”, including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.’
A new map shows 10 of England’s new infection hotspots as Leicester was overtaken by Oldham in Greater Manchester. The town recorded 54.3 new virus cases for every 100,000 people between July 20 and 26 – a rise of 191% on the week before.
Blackburn still has the highest rate of coronavirus in England, recording 87.3 cases per 100,000 people.
Yesterday the Health Secretary confirmed people who test positive or show symptoms of coronavirus will now have to self-isolate for 10 days instead of seven – in line with World Health Organisation guidance.
Common signs of the disease include a new, continuous cough, high temperature and a loss of taste or smell.
In a joint statement, England’s chief medical officers said: ‘Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between seven and nine days after illness onset.’
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