Coronavirus: UK hits record high daily virus cases of COVID-19 as second wave sweeps through

William JamesAAP
Bartenders socially distance and wear masks as they pour drinks in a pub in London.
Camera IconBartenders socially distance and wear masks as they pour drinks in a pub in London. Credit: TheWest

The United Kingdom has recorded its highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 reflecting a second wave of infections sweeping through the country.

On Thursday government data showed 6634 new cases of the virus, up from 6178 on Wednesday, itself a jump from 4926 the previous day.

But government officials say the sharp increase in new infections is largely down to a higher level of testing than during the first wave.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government estimated fewer than 10,000 people were becoming infected every day as opposed to estimated numbers of more than 100,000 during the peak of the first wave.

“(At the peak), we estimate through surveys that over 100,000 people a day were catching the disease, but we only found about 6000 of them and they tested positive,” he said in an interview on Sky News.

“Now we estimate that it’s under 10,000 people a day getting the disease. That’s too high, but it’s still much lower than in the peak.”

While testing capacity has increased dramatically since the first wave, the system has nevertheless been under strain, with many people reporting they were unable to get tests or had to travel long distances.

Delays in getting results back have also led to criticism of the system.

Public Health England said there had also been 40 new deaths, up from 37 the day before.

At the peak of the pandemic, the UK was reporting more than 1000 deaths per day.

The country’s death toll from COVID-19 stands at 41,902.

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