England’s rate of new cases of coronavirus has started to rise once more, latest figures show.
Some 315.3 cases per 100,000 people were recorded in the seven days to September 2, the third day in a row the weekly rate has increased.
It means three of the four UK nations are now experiencing a jump in rates.
Scotland is continuing to see a sharp rise in numbers, with 796.3 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days to September 2 – up week-on-week from 644.8.
One month earlier, on August 2, Scotland’s rate stood at just 142.8.
The rate for Wales currently stands at 479.6, up week-on-week from 411.8.
In both these nations, rates have been rising steadily for several weeks.
It is too early to say whether the same will be true for England – though with pupils now back at school and a growing number of people mixing on public transport, in workplaces and at sport and music events, there is more potential for the virus to spread than at any point since lockdown restrictions were eased.
Schools returned in Scotland several weeks ago, which is likely to have contributed to the sharp rise in cases, but experts have cautioned against assuming a direct link.
Kevin McConway, professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said: “There has been discussion of whether the effects of school reopening are because of children mixing more at school, or instead because there’s more mixing between both children and adults, not in school, when schools are open.
“But either way, the reopening might well increase the numbers who are infected, and if that feeds through into considerably more hospitalisations or more deaths, that would be particularly concerning.”
All figures have been compiled by the PA news agency, and data for September 3-6 has been excluded as it is incomplete.
Northern Ireland is the only one of the four UK nations where the rate of new cases is currently falling, though numbers are still very high and recently hit a level close to the peak of the second wave in January.
Some 536.3 cases per 100,000 people were recorded in Northern Ireland in the seven days to September 2, down week-on-week from 607.6.