UNIVERSITY towns such as Nottingham, Sheffield and Oxford could be plunged into lockdown “in days” after missed coronavirus cases were counted.
It comes after Public Health England admitted on Sunday they had missed 15,841 cases from their official stats – with daily infection rates shooting up to a record high of 22,961.
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A “glitch” with the NHS Test & Trace system meant that 16,000 Brits were not told to self isolate after being exposed to the deadly bug.
With positive cases having around three to four contacts, it means up to 50,000 people may have been infected with Covid-19.
The latest PHE data shows that 1,273 of new coronavirus cases were recorded in Nottingham in the seven days up to October 2.
Residents have been told to “brace for a local lockdown” within days, the Telegraph reported.
The city, which is home to Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University, was not previously on PHE’s official Covid watch list.
Nottingham’s seven-day infection rate is now 382.4 per 100,000 people – a sharp increase from last week’s 59.5.
It means the city, which is not currently in lockdown, now has a higher infection rate than areas that are subject to tougher restrictions.
Alison Challenger, director of public health for Nottingham, said: “The new data from Public Health England confirms there are more cases of Covid-19 in our city than we were aware of last week.
“Our numbers are now significant. Every ward in the city is seeing an increase in cases, matching the rising trend in confirmed cases of Covid-19 nationally.
“This is very worrying for Nottingham and we are working with Public Health England and with all partners in the city today to urgently consider what next steps need to be taken.”
Other cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Oxford have also seen a sharp increase in cases due to the “technical glitch”.
It was revealed yesterday that 474 students and five members of staff at the University of Sheffield have tested positive for Covid-19.
The city in South Yorkshire has seen cases per 100,000 of the population jump from 100.9 per to 286.6.
While in Oxford, cases have jumped from 53.1 per 100,000 of the population to 99.0 in the last week alone.
Leeds, which has also welcomed students from across the country in the last couple of weeks has also seen a jump from 316.8 to 114.9 cases per 100,000.
Meanwhile, official figures reveal London is now seeing more than 1,000 new Covid cases per day.
Sixteen areas within the capital have infection rates of more than 60 new cases per 100,000 people in the week to October 2.
MANCHESTER STILL WORST-HIT
It comes as the total number of lab-confirmed cases in the UK has now passed 500,000 since the outbreak began, and cases in seven areas have seen a significant increase as a result.
Manchester has the highest rate of cases in England with 2,927 new cases recorded in the seven days to October 2 – the equivalent of 529.4 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 246.4 per 100,000 in the seven days to September 25.
More than 380 cases were recorded in students at Manchester University.
Last week it was revealed that round 1,700 students in Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley campus and Cambridge Halls were told to self-isolate “with immediate effect” after freshers hosted parties.
PHE and Manchester City Council said in a joint statement that a “local lockdown” would be imposed on the two halls after a “spike” was detected in accommodation blocks.
The government states that an outbreak has been identified in Manchester and said areas such as the City of Manchester, Trafford, Bury, Tameside, Rochdale, Salford, Oldham, Stockport, Wigan and Bolton are all affected.
In these areas it is advised that you do no host people “you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support or childcare bubble.”
Liverpool has also seen a significant increase in cases and was last week forced into further local restrictions.
The city has the second highest rate in England, up from 287.1 to 456.4, with 2,273 new cases.
In Liverpool residents “must not meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens and the likes of pubs and restaurants, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas”.
Nearby Knowsley also has the same restrictions and has also seen an increase – up from 300.3 to 452.1, with 682 new cases.
London Covid cases climb
Coronavirus is now rising again in London with more than 1,000 new cases a day, official figures show
Sixteen areas now have infection rates of more than 60 new cases per 100,000 people in the week up to October 2.
Higher cases numbers have been confined to the east of the capital, but the latest data from Public Health England reveals the virus is spreading.
Boroughs which previously had low or medium rates of Covid are now seeing cases creep up.
Redbridge remains the area with the biggest outbreak – with 286 new cases, which is a rate of 93.7 per 100,000 people.
But Richmond-upon-Thames is now the second worst affected area with 171 new cases, and a rate of 86.4 per 100,000.
Hackney and City of London area is the third hardest hit, with 246 new cases and a case rate of 84.6 – most of the new infections are understood to be in Hackney rather than the Square Mile.
Sutton had the fewest number of new cases at 63 infections with a case rate of 30.5 per 100,000.
The capital – once the country’s epicentre – was declared an area of concern on September 25 when there were just over 600 new cases a day.
Newcastle upon Tyne, which is also subject to local restrictions, is up from 256.6 to 399.6, with 1,210 new cases.
Residents in Newcastle must not socialise with people outside their households.
Over the weekend it was suggested that the lockdown in the North East could get tougher for residents as groups of youngsters gathered in Newcastle’s city centre.
PHE admitted they missed out on counting the positive cases from September 25 until Friday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the updated figures meant that the prevalence of the virus was where experts had expected it to be.
He said: “I think that the slightly lower numbers that we’d seen, you know, didn’t really reflect where we thought the disease was likely to go, so I think these numbers are realistic.
“The crucial thing is that in the next few days, week, we’ll see more clearly whether some of the restrictions that we put in – the extra enforcement of the rule of six, the extra enforcement of self-isolation, the rules on masks and so on – all the stuff that has come in, we’ll see whether that starts to work in driving down the virus.”
Mr Johnson was unable to say how many contacts of positive coronavirus had been missed as a result of the fiasco.
Speaking to reporters he said: “What I can say is all those people are obviously being contacted and the key thing is that everybody, whether in this group or generally, should self-isolate.
“What happened here was that some of the data got truncated and it was lost.
“But what they have done now is not only contacted all the people who were identified as having the disease – that was done in the first place – but they are now working through all the contacts as well.”
He added that the key thing to remember is that if you are contacted by test and trace then you must self isolate.
“If you are told you have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.
“There is support of £500 for doing so and of course a £10,000 fine if you don’t.”