ONS estimates 3,700 people are getting infected every day in England – down 12% in a week

Coronavirus cases may be on their way down again after weeks of being on the up, official data today revealed amid growing fears of a second wave in Britain. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day.

It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling. The spike in cases prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown.

The ONS estimated 28,300 people in England had the coronavirus between July 27 and August 2 – the equivalent of one in 1,900 people. In comparison, last week’s rate was one in 1,500. 

Separate government figures have suggested a spike in cases over the past month and health chiefs yesterday recorded another 950 infections – the highest daily toll since June 26 (1,006). 

But top scientists have argued the figures are not proof of a second wave and are merely down to an increase in testing in areas that have been hit by flare-ups of the disease. 

In other coronavirus developments in Britain today: 

  • Britons were urged to stay away from packed beaches amid overcrowding fears on what could be the UK’s hottest day on record with Saharan air pushing temperatures above 100F (38C) for the second time in a week;
  • Rishi Sunak delivered a stark warning to Britons that the government ‘will not hesitate’ to take action by imposing quarantine bans amid fears France could be the next holiday destination to face coronavirus curbs; 
  • Tory MPs have clashed with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over his claims that it would be ‘impossible’ to lift lockdown restrictions in just one borough ahead of a review today;
  • More than 100,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Britain if the government didn’t tell people to stay at home, according to research.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency's estimate last week, when they warned there was 'enough evidence' to prove cases were spiralling

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency's estimate last week, when they warned there was 'enough evidence' to prove cases were spiralling

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by swabbing thousands of people, now believes there are 3,700 people in England getting infected with Covid-19 each day. It is 12 per cent down on the 4,200 made in the government-run agency’s estimate last week, when they warned there was ‘enough evidence’ to prove cases were spiralling

BRITONS URGED TO STAY AWAY FROM BEACHES AS NATION BRACES FOR ITS HOTTEST DAY EVER

Britons were urged to stay away from packed beaches today amid overcrowding fears on what could be the UK’s hottest day on record with Saharan air pushing temperatures above 100F (38C) for the second time in a week.

The mercury is expected to hit at least 99F (37C) in London and the South East today, with a chance that last Friday’s 100F (37.8C) recorded at London Heathrow Airport – the UK’s third-hottest day ever – could be broken.

Beaches across the south coast were already packed by mid-morning, further stoking fears among police and local councils that tourists will ignore coronavirus social distancing rules and cram onto packed seafronts.

Temperatures this afternoon could even climb above the all-time UK record of 101.7F (38.7C), which was set last July. But unlike last Friday, when cloud and drizzle followed, this time the heatwave is here to stay until at least Tuesday. The mercury had already hit 91F (33C) by 12.30pm today, and is set to soar further as the day continues.

Bournemouth council warned as early as 10am that eight beaches were already categorised as ‘avoid, social distancing not possible’ on the Dorset coast – including Sandbanks, Mudeford, Highcliffe and Durley Chine. All car parks in Sandbanks were full and shut by 11am, while police also warned tourists of a ‘long queue’ for the ferry. 

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In the report released today, the ONS said the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 has decreased since the start of the study on April 26.

But it added: ‘Modelling suggests it has been rising since the lowest recorded estimate, which was at the end of June. There is now evidence to suggest that this trend may have levelled off.’ 

It comes as Britons were urged to stay away from packed beaches today amid overcrowding fears on what could be the UK’s hottest day on record with Saharan air pushing temperatures above 100F (38C) for the second time in a week.

The mercury is expected to hit at least 99F (37C) in London and the South East today, with a chance that last Friday’s 100F (37.8C) recorded at London Heathrow Airport – the UK’s third-hottest day ever – could be broken.

Beaches across the south coast were already packed by mid-morning, further stoking fears among police and local councils that tourists will ignore coronavirus social distancing rules and cram onto packed seafronts.

Temperatures this afternoon could even climb above the all-time UK record of 101.7F (38.7C), which was set last July. 

But unlike last Friday, when cloud and drizzle followed, this time the heatwave is here to stay until at least Tuesday. The mercury had already hit 91F (33C) by 12.30pm today, and is set to soar further as the day continues.

Bournemouth council warned as early as 10am that eight beaches were already categorised as ‘avoid, social distancing not possible’ on the Dorset coast – including Sandbanks, Mudeford, Highcliffe and Durley Chine. 

All car parks in Sandbanks were full and shut by 11am, while police also warned tourists of a ‘long queue’ for the ferry.

Visitors to the South West of England were urged to avoid busy beaches, with the RNLI saying: ‘If you arrive at the beach and it is simply too crowded, consider moving on and spending your day elsewhere.’

As fears rise about a second wave across Europe, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a stark warning to Britons today telling them that any country could be slapped with travel restrictions at the drop of a hat. 

He said the government ‘will not hesitate’ to take action by imposing restrictions on flows from countries if necessary.

The intervention came amid claims France is ‘highly likely’ to be added to the 14-day quarantine list following a dramatic rise in infections.

People enjoy the hot weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset at 11.30am today as it becomes packed with sunseekers

People enjoy the hot weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset at 11.30am today as it becomes packed with sunseekers

People enjoy the hot weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset at 11.30am today as it becomes packed with sunseekers

Dozens of daytrippers head onto the beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex at 10.30am today where large crowds gathered

Dozens of daytrippers head onto the beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex at 10.30am today where large crowds gathered

Dozens of daytrippers head onto the beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex at 10.30am today where large crowds gathered

People enjoy the weather at Brighton beach in East Sussex shortly after noon today as Britons flock to the coast

People enjoy the weather at Brighton beach in East Sussex shortly after noon today as Britons flock to the coast

People enjoy the weather at Brighton beach in East Sussex shortly after noon today as Britons flock to the coast

‘If we need to take action we will not hesitate’: Rishi Sunak warns travellers amid fears FRANCE could be the next holiday destination to face UK curbs due to rising coronavirus cases

Rishi Sunak delivered a stark warning to Britons today amid fears France could be the next holiday destination to face coronavirus curbs.

Amid rising cases across much of the continent, the Chancellor warned that travellers needed to be aware that the situation was under ‘constant review’ and there was the ‘risk’ of disruption.

He said the government ‘will not hesitate’ to take action by imposing restrictions on flows from countries if necessary.

The intervention came amid claims France is ‘highly likely’ to be added to the 14-day quarantine list following a dramatic rise in infections.

The number of daily coronavirus cases in the country has risen in recent days, with 1,695 new infections being recorded just yesterday, as it battles to avoid a second wave of Covid-19. The seven-day rolling average of confirmed cases has doubled from under 10 per million of population on Jul 21 to 19.33 yesterday. By contrast the UK’s is around 12 cases per million people.

Any move by the government could force Britons to cancel or cut short their trips to avoid the two-week quarantine on their return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced last night that the Bahamas, Andorra and Belgium are being taken off the UK’s quarantine-exemption list with little more than 24 hours’ notice.

In a round of interviews on a visit to Scotland this morning, Mr Sunak said: ‘It’s a tricky situation. What I can say to people is we are in the midst of a global pandemnic, and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans. People need to bear that in mind.

‘It is the right thing for us to do to keep everything under review on a constant basis to be talking with our scientists, our medical advisers.

‘If we need to take action, as you have seen overnight, we will not hesitate to do that. But in the meantime people should just continue to look at the guidance and take everything into account.’

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The number of daily coronavirus cases in the country has risen in recent days, with 1,695 new infections being recorded just yesterday, as it battles to avoid a second wave of Covid-19. The seven-day rolling average of confirmed cases has doubled from under 10 per million of population on Jul 21 to 19.33 yesterday. By contrast the UK’s is around 12 cases per million people.

Any move by the government could force Britons to cancel or cut short their trips to avoid the two-week quarantine on their return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced last night that the Bahamas, Andorra and Belgium are being taken off the UK’s quarantine-exemption list with little more than 24 hours’ notice.

In a round of interviews on a visit to Scotland this morning, Mr Sunak said: ‘It’s a tricky situation. What I can say to people is we are in the midst of a global pandemnic, and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans. People need to bear that in mind.

‘It is the right thing for us to do to keep everything under review on a constant basis to be talking with our scientists, our medical advisers.

‘If we need to take action, as you have seen overnight, we will not hesitate to do that. But in the meantime people should just continue to look at the guidance and take everything into account.’

The developments in France come after its scientific committee stated earlier this week that the situation was ‘under control, but precarious. We could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control.’

It added: ‘The short term future of the pandemic mainly lies in the hands of the population. It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter.’

The statement said the virus ‘has recently been circulating more actively, with an increased loss of distancing and barrier measures’ since France emerged from its strict two-month lockdown in May.

‘The balance is fragile and we can change course at any time to a less controlled scenario like in Spain for example,’ it said.

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘Unless France takes further significant steps to reduce its case numbers, then it’s highly likely to be added later next week as the increase must be causing worries in Westminster.

‘There are several hundred thousand British tourists in France at the moment so the government must give plenty of warning if it does change its advice later next week.’

The uptick in infections in France has been bolstered by fresh coronavirus testing troubles as dozens of labs closed to allow staff a summer holiday despite signs that a second wave is building.

Doctors have warned that the vacation crunch is just part of a larger web of failures in France’s testing strategy which was described earlier this week by the government’s own virus advisory panel as disorganized and ‘insufficient’.

‘First, there is a lack of workers to do the testing. If we don’t ask all the health workers to be available by mobilizing all of them, there are just not enough people,’ emergency services doctor Christophe Prudhomme at a hospital in Bobigny, Paris.

‘And then it’s a matter of organization,’ he said, urging regional health agencies ‘to organize testing so that it’s not the citizen who has to take his phone and try to call seven or eight labs in order to get an appointment that will take place only next week.’

It is worrying news for the country which saw its hospitals nearly drown with Covid-19 patients in the first wave – in part due to inadequate testing.

The country has already lost more than 30,300 lives to the pandemic and yesterday alone recorded 1,695 new infections.

A decision by the Government is expected to be announced within the next 24 hours after ministers consider the latest data as part of their weekly review of quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Bahamas, Andorra and Belgium will be taken off the UK’s quarantine-exemption list.

Mr Shapps said people arriving in Britain from the three nations will have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.

In a tweet he said: ‘Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN.

‘If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.’

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has designated all Belgium as a ‘code orange’ for the new coronavirus, meaning the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is 20 or above for two weeks.

Separately, Malaysia and Brunei have been added to the UK’s safe list.  In Wales, the restrictions come into force from midnight tonight August 6. Belgium has suffered a consistent increase in cases in recent weeks, rising to 27.8 new cases per 100,000 people.

This towers over the UK’s latest rate of 8.4 per 100,000, and is higher than Spain’s 27.4 level around the time when the UK introduced travel restrictions there.

Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmes, was last week forced to put a halt to the nation’s Covid-19 exit plan by introducing drastic new social distancing measures in the hope of avoiding a new national lockdown.

Contacts outside every household were limited to the same five people for a month, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

In Andorra, new cases per week have increased five-fold since mid-July, while in The Bahamas the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 last week, up from 3.1 in the middle of last month.

The countries follow Spain – which was put on the quarantine list a fortnight ago, wrecking the holiday plans of millions – and Luxembourg, which was added last week.

The British Government has been under pressure to introduce airport coronavirus tests for arrivals.

Ministers are looking at whether people coming to the UK from at-risk countries such as the US and Spain could be given tests to reduce the number of days they have to quarantine for.

And the boss of Heathrow airport has proposed a double-testing regime that would see passengers tested at their point of entry to the country, and again five to eight days later.

If given the all clear in both tests, they would no longer be required to stay at home for 14 days and could go back to normal life.

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