The number of Covid-19 cases newly reported in the UK has dropped for the sixth day in a row amid a rise in hospital admissions in England, according to official figures.
The UK recorded a further 24,950 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Monday, the Government said, down from the 46,558 reported on July 20.
Meanwhile, NHS data showed that a total of 5,055 patients were in hospital with Covid-19 in England on Monday.
This is up 33% from the previous week and the highest since March 18, but still well below levels seen in the second wave of the pandemic.
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M) advising ministers, explained it takes a couple of weeks before case numbers in the community are reflected in hospital admissions.
The time lag between infections and people being admitted to hospital, mean admissions are likely to rise in the coming days regardless of the number of cases.
It will also be another couple of weeks before the effect of England’s July 19 easing of restrictions is seen, he said.
The infectious diseases expert said the closure of schools for the summer holidays could be a reason why Covid-19 cases are falling across the country.
More than half of Covid hospital admissions are patients who only tested positive later, the Daily Telegraph reported, citing leaked data.
The newspaper said the leaked data for English NHS trusts showed that as of Thursday, just 44% of patients classed as being in hospital with Covid had tested positive when they were admitted.
A Number 10 spokesman said the fall in coronavirus cases was “encouraging” but numbers were still expected to rise, adding that “the Prime Minister thinks we’re not out of the woods yet”.
Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both expected to finish their 10 days of quarantine at the end of Monday, following their contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who tested positive for Covid-19.
The Prime Minister is expected to been seen on official duties on Tuesday after self-isolating at his Chequers country residence.
All three men are among those written to by health leaders who have warned that the NHS is as stretched now as it was at the height of the pandemic in January.
NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, said a combination of pressures were being experienced by the health service and that things will get worse before they get better.
It called on ministers to make “the right decisions” over the next month as it finalises NHS funding for the second half of the financial year.
The Government said a further 1,200 workplace testing sites will enable bin collectors, prison staff and those working in defence to take daily tests rather than self-isolating if they have been notified by the NHS Covid-19 app or Test and Trace as a contact with someone who has coronavirus.
The new sites brings the total to 2,000, with them also being made available for eligible key workers in the food industry, transport workers, Border Force staff and frontline police and fire services.
It comes amid several sectors warning of staff shortages caused by a “pingdemic” of people told to go into self-isolation.
Meanwhile, the continuation of US restrictions on international travel has dashed British holidaymakers’ hopes of travelling across the Atlantic this summer.
Current Covid-19-related rules mean most European travellers, including those from the UK, cannot enter the US, with the Associated Press reporting the restrictions will not be lifted due to the prevalence of coronavirus variants in Europe.