UK coronavirus death toll up by 280 in biggest Thursday jump since May


he UK has recorded 280 further coronavirus deaths overnight, with more than 23,000 new cases confirmed.

It marks the highest daily rise in Covid-19 fatalities on a Thursday since May 28 when 422 deaths were reported.

It brings the total number of deaths recorded over the last seven days to 1,608 – an increase of 52.6 per cent on the previous seven-day period.

This brings the UK’s official death toll to 45,955.

However, separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show more than 61,000 deaths have so far been registered across the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Meanwhile, 23,065 Covid-19 cases were also recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections confirmed in one week to 154,873.

This marks an increase of 13.2 per cent on the previous seven-day period and takes the total infection count since the start of the pandemic to 965,340.

The figures come as the Government’s contact tracing system recorded its highest ever weekly number of positive cases.

A total of 126,065 people tested positive for Covid-19 at least once in the week to October 21 – the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

New analysis also showed that four in 10 close contacts of people who tested positive for the virus in England are still not being reached.

Some 60.3 per cent of close contacts of people who tested positive were reached through the system in the week ending October 21 – up very slightly from 60.0 per cent the previous week, which was the lowest weekly percentage ever recorded.

For cases managed by local health protection teams, 97.0 per cent of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to October 21.

But for cases handled either online or by call centres, this figure was 58.1 per cent.

Just 22.6 per cent of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending October 21 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours. This is up from 13.7 per centin the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 that he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.

However, last week Mr Johnson admitted that the system needs to improve, adding that he shares people’s “frustrations” and said there needed to be faster turnaround times.

Interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, Baroness Dido Harding, said: “As the number of cases rise, we are seeing NHS Test and Trace processing more tests and reaching more people than ever before.

“We are expanding the reach of our service and improving performance in key areas such as turnaround times for tests as we continue to increase capacity, but we recognise there is more to be done.

“We are working hard to meet these increased demands whilst improving the service we offer to the public.”

<p>The Prime Minister is facing mounting calls to impose a national lockdown</p>

The Prime Minister is facing mounting calls to impose a national lockdown

/ Getty Images )

Director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said the figures provide confirmation of “rapidly rising infections”.

She said: “As other countries are also now finding, it is difficult for a test and trace system to keep up and operate effectively now that the number of cases has risen so significantly.

“We should acknowledge the number of people tested has risen, turnaround times are slightly better, and more people are being transferred to the contact tracing system.

“But far too few contacts of those carrying the virus are ever reached which has hampered the system’s effectiveness from the outset.

“And as infections rise the challenges become even greater.

“That’s why we need our politicians to be ready to make tough and speedy decisions to bear down on the virus, and ensure the NHS is able to maintain the quality of care for all patients, caring for those with Covid and other conditions.”


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