UK coronavirus daily cases rise above 4,000 for first time in four months as 27 die

UK coronavirus daily cases rise above 4,000 for first time in four months as 27 die
Another 4,322 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK over the past 24 hours, the government has said, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 385,936.

The figure is the highest daily number in more than four months and the first time more than 4,000 cases have been recorded since 1 May.  

Officials also said on Friday that a further 27 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK’s official death toll to 41,732.

The update came hours after new local coronavirus restrictions were announced for large parts of the North West, Midlands, and West Yorkshire to “curb rising infection rates” in England.

It also followed reports of plans for a temporary “circuit break” of national lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus and buy time for the government’s Test and Trace programme to improve.

Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said an “optimistic” aim for new restrictions could be to drive down the coronavirus reproduction number by as much as a half for a short period.

“The aim is to use additional social distancing measures to reduce the R number well below one for a short period; two weeks has been suggested,” Professor Woolhouse said.

“That would drive down the incidence of new infections, perhaps by as much as half if R fell to a similar value as during lockdown, though that may be optimistic.”

Local coronavirus restrictions are currently in place across large parts of the UK, with about 13.5 million people either currently living under restrictions or soon to be from Tuesday.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, pointed to a worrying rise in cases on Friday as Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire were classed as “areas of intervention”.

Residents in those areas will be told from Tuesday to stop socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.

Restaurants, pubs and bars will be restricted to table service only, while all leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs and cinemas must close between 10pm and 5am.

The new rules will not apply to Bolton or Greater Manchester, where there are already separate restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, Oadby and Wigston in the Midlands and all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale in West Yorkshire will be subject to bans on socialising in private homes and gardens from Tuesday.

“Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them,” Mr Hancock said in a statement announcing the new measures.

“I know these restrictions will make everyday life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.”

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