UK coronavirus infections mount sharply with 13,864 new cases
LONDON. KAZINFORM - Britain has continued to see a sharp rise in coronavirus infections as another 13,864 people have tested positive, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 575,679, according to official figures released Friday, Xinhua reports.
The coronavirus-related deaths rose by 87 to 42,679, the latest data showed.
London is facing a «very real threat» as COVID-19 cases rise, Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England, said Friday that there was «undeniable evidence» that the disease is spreading in the British capital.
Official figures showed there were 6,660 news cases in the city in the week to Oct. 5.
Earlier Friday, official figures showed Britain's coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, has decreased slightly to as high as 1.5 from 1.6 last week, but the virus is still spreading fast.
The R number is now between 1.2 and 1.5, down from between 1.3 and 1.6 last week, according to the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
SAGE said it was almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and the transmission is not slowing.
«This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country,» it said.
The R number is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how quickly COVID-19 the virus is spreading.
Reproduction rate means the average number of people each person with coronavirus goes on to infect.
Therefore, an R number of between 1.2 and 1.5 means on average every 10 people with the virus will infect between 12 and 15 others.
Also on Friday, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that new COVID-19 cases in England have «increased rapidly», with the rate of new infections at its highest level since May,
There were an average of 17,200 new cases per day in private households between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, compared with 12,600 new cases per day in the previous week from Sept. 18 to Sept. 24, according to the ONS.
The ONS noted a «marked increase» in the rate of new infections during the last six weeks, which is now at its highest level since the survey began in May.
The highest rates of infection currently are among older teenagers and young adults -- from school Year 12 through to age 24, where «rates have grown very rapidly in the most recent weeks,» said the ONS.
There are also differences between regions, said the ONS, adding that North East, North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber were among the worst affected regions in England in recent weeks.
Pressure is mounting on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to consider tighter restriction measures.
New measures to tackle coronavirus are expected to be announced «in the coming days», which could see pubs and restaurants to be closed in the worst-affected areas of England, according to the BBC.
To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.
The British government's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has said that it is possible that some vaccine could be available in small amounts later this year, but it is more likely that a vaccine will be available early next year, although that is not guaranteed.