UK records highest-ever one-day rise in cases

However, while daily case numbers are now higher than confirmed figures from March, experts say the lack of community testing available at that time could make direct comparisons between the first and second coronavirus spike in the UK misleading.

The UK has set a new record for confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with 12,872 in the last 24-hour period.

It is the highest daily figure reported so far by the Department of Health and Social Care, beating the previous figure of 7,143 from earlier this week. The total now stands at 480,017.

The government also said that totals reported “over the coming days” will be higher as a result of a glitch that delayed the reporting of cases from between 24 September and 1 October. It is not clear how much this problem has contributed to the record figure of 12,872.

A further 49 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK death toll to 42,317.

The figures were released as Boris Johnson faced criticism for blaming the recent surge in coronavirus infections on public complacency rather than the government’s failure to test, saying that discipline on social distancing and hygiene measures had “frayed” over the summer.

“In March and April, in Scotland and across the country, we came together and got the virus down,” he said in a round of TV interviews. “Alas, what happened since then is that everyone got a bit complacent and a bit blase about transmission and the rules on social distancing weren’t perhaps obeyed in the way they could have been or enforced in the way they could have been and that’s why we’ve had to put in measures both in Scotland and elsewhere to bring it down again.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, in an interview with The Observer, claimed the prime minister had “lost control” of the virus and accused the government of “serial incompetence”.

“There isn’t a strategy. There’s a vacuum there,” he added. “And that’s because there’s division in the cabinet as to which strategy they should be following.”

He later tweeted: “The government’s incompetence has left people angry, anxious and frustrated. We need a roadmap to give people hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. ”

Other statistics revealed there were 2,194 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England, up from 1,622 a week ago, while 307 Covid-19 hospital patients were in ventilation beds, up from 223 a week ago.

Meanwhile local lockdown restrictions came into force in Liverpool, Warrington, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool in a bid to stem the surge in cases across the north of England.

Scientists have estimated that the reproduction number, R, of the virus is now between 1.3 and 1.6, suggesting the spread of Covid-19 is continuing to accelerate.

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