UK Reports Highest Number Of Covid Cases Since July

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Nearly 50,000 confirm the infection daily as experts warn of eroding immunity.

The UK has reported the most new Covid-19 cases in three months as the number of infections reached levels last seen when lockdown restrictions were in place during the summer.

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Government data as of Monday showed there have been a further 49,156 lab-confirmed infections in the UK. This is the highest number of daily reported cases since July 17.

A further 45 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 138,629.

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Friday’s data from the Office for National Statistics showed coronavirus infection levels in England are approaching the peak seen at the height of the second wave and are being driven mostly by rates among school children.

Britain lifted the last remaining social distancing restrictions to contain the virus on 19 July when pubs and restaurants were allowed to operate at full capacity and nightclubs reopened their doors.

However, with more than two-thirds of the adult population fully immunized, it has so far dramatically reduced the risk of hospitalization and death.

Downing Street said a surge in coronavirus cases was expected over the winter and that the government would be “closely monitoring” the situation.

Epidemiologist and government adviser Professor Andrew Hayward said the situation was “concerning” and there was “a huge potential for the NHS to come under great pressure”.

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 the Sage Scientific Advisory Panel, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “I think it is a higher rate 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.”

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