Weekly coronavirus cases highest since Test and Trace system launched
Written by on 10 September 2020
There has been a 43% increase in the weekly number of coronavirus cases in England, according to new figures.
In the seven days to 2 September, a total of 9,864 people tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the highest weekly number since the government’s Test and Trace system was launched at the end of May.
And it comes despite the number of people being tested levelling off.
As coronavirus cases spike, particularly among young people, Boris Johnson has announced a maximum of six individuals in England can gather together indoors and outdoors from this Monday.
Positive cases have been rising since the start of July and are now 12% higher than the number recorded when the scheme began on 28 May.
The number of people newly tested increased from mid-June but has levelled off over the last five weeks.
Also in the week to 2 September, around 30% of close contacts of people who tested positive were not reached in the scheme.
The figure of 69.2% who were reached is the lowest weekly percentage since the system was up and running.
The number is down slightly from 69.8% in the previous week.
For coronavirus cases handled by local health protection teams, 96.6% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to September 2.
By contrast, for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 61.3% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.
Contacts were more likely to be reached in the South West and South East than they were in the North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire.
Fewer than 50% of contacts were reached in Bradford, Herefordshire, Peterborough, Blackburn with Darwen, Kirklees and Nottingham.
Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday, the prime minister pinned hopes on a new massive testing regime being piloted in England next month.
Asked by Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby whether without a mass testing regime in place people should accept having smaller gatherings at Christmas, the PM said “it is just too early to say”.
However, he said he is “hopeful” the new restrictions will get the current spike down.
Mr Johnson admitted the coronavirus rules had become “complicated and confusing”.
He said this latest move, the biggest crackdown since the lockdown was eased earlier this summer, was aimed at “simplifying and strengthening the rules” and “making them easier for everyone to understand”.