The UK has recorded the highest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths in six months, as cases could be set to rise further as children go back to school.
Figures released on Tuesday showed 209 deaths from coronavirus, which is the highest level since 9 March, and takes the total death toll for the UK to 133,483.
There have been a further 37,489 confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to the latest government statistics.
The figures are often higher on Tuesdays because of a lag in reporting deaths and cases over the weekend. Over the past week, deaths are up 39 per cent on the preceding week, to 948.
It comes as the government said a ‘firebreak’ lockdown was not being planned for half-term, but there are contingency plans that would “only be reintroduced as a last resort” to protect the NHS.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the vaccination programme provides “significant defences” which the country did not have on previous occasions when restrictions were put in place.
No 10 denied there is a plan to put in place a firebreak this autumn if there is a new surge in Covid-19 cases, but the government said there are “contingency plans” for a “range of scenarios”.
The comments come after an unnamed member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly said a “precautionary break” could be part of “contingency plans”.
Asked about the report, a No 10 spokesman said: “It is not true that the government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half-term.”
He added: “We have retained contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios, but these kind of measures would only be reintroduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on our NHS.”
Meanwhile, Professor Neil Ferguson has warned of a “difficult few weeks” as experts are expecting “numbers to tick up”.
He said: “We need to monitor what’s happening in the next few weeks, and if we start seeing something closer to the worst-case scenarios - case numbers at 100,000 or more - there may well need to be some course correction at that point.”
Additional reporting by agencies
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