Rits have been warned that the coming months will be “challenging” as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Downing Street said a rise in coronavirus cases was expected in the winter and Government Will keep a “close watch” on the situation.
Epidemiologist and government adviser Professor Andrew Hayward said the situation was “concerning” and had “great potential”. NHS To come under a lot of pressure”.
We always knew the coming months would be challenging
Government figures as of Sunday show there have been more than 300,000 confirmed cases in the past seven days, a 15% increase from the previous week.
The number of 852 deaths that occurred between October 11 and October 17 was 8.5% higher than the figures for the previous seven days.
Friday’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show coronavirus infection levels England are approaching the peak seen at the height of the second wave and are mostly driven by rates among school children.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We are obviously keeping a very close eye on the latest figures.
“We always knew that the coming months would be challenging.
“What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalizations and deaths are still roughly in line with the modeling as determined a few months ago.
“The vaccination program will continue to be our first line of defense with new treatments, tests and public health advice.
“But we will obviously keep a close watch on the matters.
“But it is thanks to our vaccination program that we have been able to break the link between cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
The spokesperson added that the success of the vaccines means “we have been able to become one of the most open economies in Europe, benefiting the public and indeed businesses as well”.
Prof Hayward, a member of sage The Scientific Advisory Panel told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “I think it is concerning that we have higher rates of infection and higher rates of hospitalization and mortality than many of our European counterparts “
He added that weakened immunity is “probably” in part because infections are currently high, “some evidence” protection against infection is beginning to diminish and “maybe some evidence” protection against serious disease is diminishing somewhat.
Prof Hayward said: “We should not be complacent because there is still huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure and a lot of unnecessary deaths.
“So we need to increase vaccination rates and potentially be prepared to think about other measures if things get out of control.”
“Different countries are potentially at different stages of their vaccination programs and have different measures, so it is difficult to compare and contrast,” Downing Street said.
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “What is important is that we strike the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods.”
ONS figures show that nearly one in 10 school children aged seven to 11 in England were estimated to have had Covid last week, the highest positivity rate for any age group.
But a PA news agency analysis suggested there was a lower catch of Covid-19 among 12-15-year-olds.
Data shows that vaccination rates are as low as 5% in some areas, while only 15 local authorities in England have managed to deliver at least a quarter to 12 to 15-year-olds for the first time.
the picture is very different Scotland Where young people can also receive jab doses at drop-in vaccination centers, as half of local authority areas already have more than 50% lay-up.
There has been a demand to offer vaccines for under-16s at walk-in centers instead of school to promote take-up.
James Bowen, policy director for the School Leaders’ Union NAHT, said: “It would be a wise decision to allow 12-15 year olds to attend walk-in immunization centres.”
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “In the first instance we are allowing jabs through school immunization services, this is a long-standing approach that has been used for flu and HPV jabs.
“We are working closely with the schools, we are going to review the program for 12 to 15 year olds.”
The spokesman said a number of factors could be behind the problems with children having jabs in their arms, including potentially “disgusting” abuse and misinformation from protesters at the school gate.
“It is completely unacceptable for parents, teachers or indeed anyone to misbehave or misinform children,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, French pharmaceutical firm Valneva, whose UK contract for the vaccine was canceled last month, has reported a positive result from its Covid-19 test.