Covid-19 related deaths have risen to the highest daily level in the UK since early March, while cases are at their highest for almost three months.
The Government confirmed a further 223 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday (19 October), bringing the country’s total deaths to 138,852.
The UK now also has one of the highest weekly rates of newly reported coronavirus cases in the world, with the seven-day average for cases currently at 44,145 per day, which is its highest since mid-July.
The worrying figures have prompted calls from NHS chiefs for the Government to implement its ‘Plan B’ coronavirus restrictions in a bid to avoid a winter crisis.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, has warned that tougher measures are needed to prevent the health service becoming overwhelmed, including bringing back mandatory face masks and vaccine passports for some venues.
He said the NHS is preparing for what could be “the most challenging winter on record” and urged the public to behave “in ways that will keep themselves and others safe”.
However, Downing Street has so far resisted calls to enforce its stricter Plan B rules, but said it is keeping a “very close eye” on rising case rates.
No10 has said the Government is “not complacent” about the soaring cases, but stressed that the level of hospital admissions and deaths were “an order of magnitude lower” compared to earlier in the pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the most important message for the public is “to understand the vital importance of the booster programme”, and for eligible children to come forward for a vaccine.
With cases and deaths expected to continue to climb as we head into winter, it is expected the coming months will be difficult.
But which parts of the UK has been worst affected by the pandemic to date? Listed are the areas where the most people have tested positive for Covid-19 and have recorded the highest infection rates per 100,000 population, based on Government figures from 31 January to 20 October. Images are for illustrative purposes only.