Health minister Matt Hancock has warned the United Kingdom is at a “perilous moment” as more than 17,540 new daily COVID-19 cases were recorded within 24 hours, up by more than 3000 from the day before.
A further 77 people died after testing positive for the virus within 28 days, government data showed on Thursday while the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in England rose to 3044 from 2944 on Wednesday, the highest figure since June 22.
“We are seeing a definite and sustained increase in cases and admissions to hospital. The trend is clear, and it is very concerning,” said Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for Public Health England.
“Numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are also rising so we must continue to act to reduce transmission of this virus.”
It comes as the World Health Organisation reports a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours led by a surge of infections in Europe.
Europe reported 96,996 new cases, the highest total for the region ever recorded by the WHO. Global deaths rose by 5514 to a total of 1.05 million.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 330,340 on October 2. The agency reported a record 12,393 deaths on April 17.
As a region, Europe is now reporting more cases than India, Brazil or the United States.
Many parts of northern England, Wales and Scotland have implemented new tough restrictions on social interaction to try to curb the growing spread of the disease.
In a speech on Thursday, health minister Matt Hancock said he was very concerned about the rise in cases, adding that hospitalisations in northwest England were doubling every fortnight and had risen by 57 per cent in the last week alone.
“We are at a perilous moment in the course of this pandemic. In parts of the country, the situation is again, becoming very serious,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing hospitalisations of the over-60s rising sharply and the number of deaths from coronavirus also rising.” (Reporting by Michael Holden, Alistair Smout and Andy Bruce; editing by Kate Holton and William James)