Latest Covid-19 updates - steep rise in cases

Covid-19 news: The rate of COVID-19 transmission has risen above a critical level that means the infection is growing exponentially, official figures show. New cases in England up 167% since end of August 2020.

Latest coronavirus news as of 5 pm on 17 September state there is a ‘steep rise in new coronavirus cases in England despite testing shortage’.

The weekly number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has risen sharply, as the country is experiencing testing shortages. In the first week of September, just over 18,000 people were diagnosed with Covid-19, and according to NHS Test and Trace today’s figures show that there has been an increase of 167% since end of August.

In June, Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister informed the parliament that all coronavirus tests would be returned within 24 hours by the end of the month. Today, 2 months later, the time for tests to be returned is taking a minimum of 2-3 days. The biggest worry still, is that the Government sites for booking Covid-19 tests are struggling to meet the rapid increase in demand due to what appears to be a clear shortage of tests available with widespread reports of problems getting a Covid-19 test, with people being offered sites two-hour journeys from home or NO testing at all. As a result the A&E departments across the most affected areas are seeing a 'significant' increase in the number of people turning up in search of a test. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that could be 'weeks' before the Government resolves the testing problems.

Today the UK Government announced new restrictions affecting almost two million people in the North-East of England, where case rates are particularly high. The UK Health Minister Matt Hancock told MPs today that under the new rules (which come into force at midnight tonight 17th September 2020) people will be banned from meeting people from other households and restaurants, bars and pubs will also be required to close at 10 pm. Affected areas include Sunderland, where the infection rate is currently 103 per 100,000 people, as well as Newcastle, South Tyneside and Gateshead, all of which have infection rates above 70.

It comes as new figures show coronavirus cases is doubling every week in England as the virus threatens to spin out of control. As infections are rising, we all need to play our part and take extra care in order to protect ourselves and others. We should all follow the few simple rules:

HANDS wash them regularly and for 20 seconds

FACE wear a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

SPACE stay 2 m apart from people you do not live with where possible.