UK reports most COVID-19 cases since July over past seven days

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: People walk through Oxford Circus, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in just over a month during the past seven days, reflecting the continued spread of the Delta variant of the disease, government figures showed on Friday.

Britain recorded a further 38,046 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, down slightly from Thursday's 38,281 but taking the total number of new infections in the past seven days to 239,237, the most for any seven-day period since July 20-26.

The number of cases over the past week was 9.1% higher than the week before, while deaths rose by a similar amount.

Separate survey data from Britain's Office for National Statistics earlier on Friday estimated that within England alone, 1 in 70 people were infected in the week ending Aug. 20, compared with 1 in 80 the week before.

England's COVID-19 weekly reproduction "R" number narrowed to 1.0 to 1.1, compared with 0.9 to 1.2 in figures released last week. That means for every 10 people infected, they will on average infect between 10 and 11 other people.

Deaths during the current wave of COVID-19 infections in Britain are much lower than in previous waves, due largely to high rates of vaccination, which have reached 78.0% for people over 16 and higher for the most vulnerable age groups.

A further 100 people were recorded on Friday as having died within 28 days of testing positive for the disease, taking total deaths since the start of the pandemic to 132,243.

Almost all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in England on July 19 and most restrictions have gone elsewhere in the United Kingdom, although many office workers continue to work from home and overseas travel is restricted.

Tens of thousands of Britons plan to attend packed music festivals over the coming holiday weekend.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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