UK records highest ever daily number of new coronavirus cases

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The UK recorded its highest daily tally of new coronavirus infections on Thursday with a total of 6,634 new cases announced.

Forty new coronavirus deaths have also been recorded.

Despite the record amount of cases, the situation is still not as bad as the peak of the pandemic, because the improved testing regime is finding more sufferers. In April, Imperial College researchers suggested there were actually more than 100,000 new infections a day but many were not officially recorded. It is an increase of 456 from Wednesday’s figure of 6,178.

It comes on the day that the UK launched its long-delayed Covid-19 smartphone app amid downbeat predictions of success for a track and trace system once confidently predicted to be “world beating” by prime minister Boris Johnson.

The app was planned for nationwide launch as part of a broader programme of coronavirus testing and control by June 1 but technical problems forced a prototype to be abandoned. The launch of the app for England and Wales on Wednesday is based on a software model developed by tech giants Google and Apple. Scotland and Northern Ireland have already rolled out versions because of the UK delays.

Health secretary Matt Hancock played down expectations on Wednesday saying it was an “addition to all the other tools” at the government’s disposal to try to limit the worst impact of a second spike in cases.

“I’m not prepared to launch something that I don’t think is going to be effective,” he told the BBC. “That’s one of the reasons why we chose to wait until now to launch it.”

The UK recorded more than 6,000 new cases on Tuesday with health officials warning that infections were doubling every seven days.

The government did not deny reports that students could be confined to their universities during the winter break to prevent the spread of the virus to older relatives when they return home. Hundreds of students in Glasgow, Scotland, have been forced to self-isolate after a university outbreak.

“I have learned not to rule things out,” said Mr Hancock of the winter campus lockdown. “I don’t want to have a situation like that and I very much hope we can avoid it.”

The government earlier in the week said that restaurants would close early and the return of fans to sports events would be delayed because of fears of a winter resurgence.

The new app, using Bluetooth technology, allows experts to build a picture of infections and alerts users to take steps to limit their exposure.

But there are potential problems of limited take-up with other countries finding that similar apps been used by just ten to 30 per cent of the population.

Commuters at Waterloo station in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed Tuesday for resolve and a “spirit of togetherness” through the winter as he unveiled new restrictions. AP Photo

People board a bus outside Waterloo station in London. AP Photo

People wearing protective face masks make their way through Waterloo station during the morning rush hour on Wednesday morning. Reuters

Children of keyworkers at Sheringham Primary School, Norfolk created this huge rainbow for the NHS on their playground. Some of the children's parents are nurses who have been working on the Covid ward at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

NHS workers react at the Royal London Hospital during the last day of the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease Reuters

Employees make NHS uniforms at a factory in Dukinfield, Britain. The coronavirus pandemic has made the need to address the rapidly ageing workforce more urgent. Reuters

NHS workers wearing personal protective equipment as UK releases latest coronavirus data. Oli SCARFF / AFP

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a closed theatre, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London. Reuters

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock launches review into how coronavirus affects ethnic minorities. AFP

Captain Sir Tom Moore beat his original target of raising £1000. Reuters

A pedestrian passes the HSBC Holdings Plc headquarters office building, center, in the Canary Wharf business, financial and shopping district of London, U.K Bloomberg

British Airways will retire its Boeing 747 fleet immediately due to a drop in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy British Airways 

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme has been successful. EPA

A man wearing a facemask walks across London Bridge. The OECD area economy contracted a record 9.8% in the second quarter of 2020. AFP 

Stay-at-home orders wiped out 20 per cent of the British economy in the first half of 2020. AFP

A social distancing sign in Oxford Street, London, usually one of the country's busiest shopping streets. Reuters

Commuters walk over London bridge during the morning rush hour, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London. Reuters

Empty shelves from a Sainsbury's supermarket in London, UK, as shoppers in the British capital stockpile goods in advance of strict lockdown measures to fight coronavirus. Emma Sky for The National

The UK is still under a virtual lockdown. Reuters

Deserted streets in Cambridge amid the UK's coronavirus lockdown. Reuters

Minsters have condemned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to abolish the Department for International Development on Tuesday. AFP

People queue at a walk in Covid-19 testing centre in Bolton, England. Fears about rising infection rates among younger people across the UK has forced the government into tighter lockdown restrictions. Getty

Cars queue for Covid-19 drive-in testing centre in Bolton, England. Fears about rising infection rates among younger people across the UK has forced the government into tighter lockdown restrictions. Getty

A person is detained during a demonstration in Trafalgar Square against the lockdown imposed by the government, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London,. Reuters

The issue of poor take-up could also harm attempts to immunise the population when a vaccine is finally found, according to a new study by University College London. One in five Britons say they are unlikely to get a jab highlighting concerning levels of mistrust around vaccinations.

It followed a 1990s scandal when a British doctor made a bogus link between a triple vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella and autism – which resulted in increased deaths from childhood measles when parents shunned the jab for their children.

The virus has had a disproportionate effect on ethnic minorities and new research warned that they could also face a greater economic hit from Covid-19.

Black, Asian and other groups are particularly at risk of rising debt and little relief from housing costs, according to think tank The Institute for Public Policy Research.

Updated: September 24, 2020 09:18 PM

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