UK tops 100,000 COVID cases in just seven days as death toll rises again

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A pedestrian wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks in the rain on Oxford Street in London on October 13, 2020, following the announcement of a new three-tiered system categorising areas of England by rates of coronavirus infection. - The British government on Tuesday insisted it is still "guided by science" following criticism that senior ministers had ignored the advice of experts three weeks ago for tougher restrictions to cut rising coronavirus infections. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
As of 9am on Wednesday there had been a further 19,724 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK (Picture: Getty)

There have been 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in just seven days in the UK.

A further 19,724 cases were recorded on Wednesday, the government confirmed.

On Tuesday there were 17,234, while on Monday another 12,872 people were reported as having caught coronavirus.

The total number of cases in the UK now stands at 654,644.

A further 137 people have also died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, which brings the UK death toll to 43,155.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 58,500 deaths registered in the UK where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Watch: PM refuses to ‘rule out’ national lockdown

Boris Johnson insisted on Wednesday he wanted to avoid the “misery” of another national lockdown as chancellor Rishi Sunak warned it would cause “significant damage” to livelihoods.

The prime minister clashed with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over his call for a short “circuit-breaker” lockdown aimed at getting the virus back under control.

But he also refused to rule out a national lockdown despite saying it would be a “disaster”.

Leading scientists have suggested that a short lockdown – possibly over Christmas – could prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and potentially reduce the death toll this winter.

Prof Graham Medley, part of Sage, said: “Even if there isn’t a vaccine treatments will get better with time. People who are infected in June next year are going to fare much better than people who were infected in June this year because the treatments will get better.”

But he added he feared because it is impossible to quantify how many lives might be saved, a short-term lockdown might be rejected by politicians because it is seen as just “kicking the can down the road”.

A pedestrian wearing a face mask as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus walks past a boarded up office space which is to let in east London on October 13, 2020. - Britain's unemployment rate has jumped to 4.5 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy jobs, official data showed on October 13. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A pedestrian wearing a face mask in east London (Picture: Getty)

The row over England’s approach to tackling a surge in coronavirus cases came as Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford set out plans to ban travel into the country from high-risk areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 6pm on Friday.

His counterpart in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon advised Scots against travelling to English coronavirus hotspots, singling out Blackpool as “associated with a large and growing number of COVID cases in Scotland”.

Northern Ireland’s first minister Arlene Foster also announced that pubs and restaurants will close for four weeks – with the exception of takeaways and deliveries – while schools will close on Monday for two weeks, one of which will cover the half-term break.

Watch: UK death from coronavirus cases rise by 137

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