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Covid-19: UK's daily count crosses 50,000 again, Boris govt says no to fresh curbs

On Thursday, the daily tally crossed the 50,000-mark with 52,009 people testing positive for the virus, the highest single-day increase since July 17. As many as 115 patients died from related complications, while another 29,000 recovered during the day.
People wear face masks as they exit Piccadilly Circus underground station, in London, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021(AP Photo)
Published on Oct 22, 2021 08:07 AM IST
Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

The United Kingdom (UK) is witnessing a fresh surge in daily cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). For more than a week, the country has recorded over 40,000 cases. On Thursday, the daily tally crossed the 50,000-mark with 52,009 people testing positive for the virus, the highest single-day increase since July 17. As many as 115 patients died from related complications, while another 29,000 recovered during the day.

At present, the UK has 14,44,489 active cases, while the cumulative tallies stand at 86,41,221 infections, 1,39,146 deaths and 70,57,586 recoveries.

On Wednesday, health minister Sajid Javid said daily cases in the UK could rise up to 1,00,000, adding the pandemic was not over yet.

Increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations

Besides the rise in cases, there has also been an increase in the number of hospital admissions. On Thursday, 959 patients were hospitalised, pushing the total number of admissions to over 563,000. Health care facilities are once again on the brink of being overwhelmed ahead of winter.

“Everything is hitting us at once,” Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London said, according to a New York Times report. “We’re in a no man’s land,” Spector, who is leading a major study of Covid-19 symptoms, added.

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No fresh restrictions at present

Despite the increased spread of the virus, the Boris Johnson government has said no fresh restrictions will be reimposed for now. “We are looking closely at the data, we are not implementing Plan B at this point,” the health minister said on Wednesday.

The UK has virtually lifted all restrictions over the past four months even as the infection rate remained high, the New York Times report said. According to the government, the rapid rollout of vaccines has weakened the link between infection and serious illness.

Previously, Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation, had urged the Johnson administration to bring back some restrictions such as compulsory wearing of masks in crowded places, working from home (WFH) and imposing a ban on unnecessary indoor gatherings. Several European countries, including France, have reintroduced similar curbs to contain the spread of the deadly infection.

‘Watching the numbers very carefully every day’: UK PM

The Prime Minister said on Thursday that his government was watching the Covid-19 figures very carefully every day. “The numbers of infections are high but we are within the parameters of what the predictions were,” Johnson said.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, Johnson and his ministers have repeatedly faced criticism for reacting too slowly at critical stages of the pandemic.

(With inputs from agencies, New York Times)

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