Covid R rate as high as 1.3 in England – follow live


UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

England’s coronavirus R number is estimated to have increased from between 1.0 and 1.2 to 1.1 and 1.3 official figures have shown.

The current R number is the highest it’s been since January.

It comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the government to make face coverings mandatory on public transport as the UK continues to average more than 40,000 confirmed coronavirus cases a day for over a week.

Mr Khan said London’s coronavirus situation is so “finely balanced” it demands people to work together to protect the NHS and their loved ones.

He said in a statement the the “deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid”.

He also called on eligible Londoners to get their booster vaccine and flu jab as well as continuing to wear a mask where needed. “The worst thing we can do is to lower our guard, be complacent and underestimate the risk these viruses pose to all of us,” he added.

It comes as coronavirus restrictions may return to Wales if cases don’t drop in the next three weeks, first minister Mark Drakeford warned. Wales currently has the worst Covid rate in the UK and new measures are being introduced to curb soaring infection numbers.

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UK visits by overseas travellers down 97 per cent on pre-Covid levels

Overseas residents made just 277,000 visits by air to the UK between April and June, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

That amounts to a 97 per cent decline on pre-pandemic levels, the ONS said. Visits to UK-based friends and relatives decreased by 93 per cent while business trips were down 97 per cent. Just 13,000 holiday visits were recorded, representing a decline of more than 99 per cent.

Travel and tourism firms blamed coronavirus restrictions for limiting demand. The amount of money spent by overseas residents who arrived in the UK by air between April and June was £386 million, down 94 per cent compared with the same period in 2019.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 14:25

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Proportion of Covid infections in England equals second wave peak

Coronavirus infection levels have risen across the UK as new estimates show the same proportion of people in England have Covid-19 as at the peak of the second wave.

In Wales, the level is at its highest since estimates began in summer last year. Despite the prevalence of Covid-19 across the four nations, hospital admissions and deaths remain well below levels seen during the second wave in January.

The vaccine rollout is largely credited as the reason for the lower figures. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey estimates around one in 50 people in England had the virus in the week to October 22, up from one in 55 the previous week and the equivalent of about 1.1 million people.

Additional reporting by PA

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 14:09

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BREAKING: R rate as high as 1.3 in England

The coronavirus R rate in England could be as high as 1.3, the latest data shows.

This is up from the previous estimate, which calculated that the virus’ reproduction rate was between 1.1 and 1.2.

More to follow on this developing story:

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 13:52

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England’s coronavirus R number is estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.3

England’s coronavirus R number is estimated to have increased from between 1.0 and 1.2 to 1.1 and 1.3 official figures have shown.

The R number measures how fast coronavirus is spreading among a population.

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 13:38

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The G20 has a responsibility to lead – now is the time for urgent action

The world is still suffering through the Covid-19 pandemic. People are dying needlessly while vaccines are hoarded by wealthy countries. Without access to vaccines, people can’t return to their normal lives and to earning a living.

And as climate change rages forward, punishing droughts are taking over regions, food supplies are vanishing, clean water is becoming harder to find, and smog is blanketing our cities. If fundamental changes aren’t made now, our planet may never be able to recover.

Our latest editors letter below:

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 13:24

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ICYMI: Whistleblowers reveal chaotic and ‘dangerous’ working conditions at lab behind Covid testing fiasco

Whistleblowers from a Covid lab that sent out thousands of incorrect test results across England have shed new light on the site’s chaotic working conditions, revealing how machines were poorly maintained, concerns over quality control dismissed and untrained staff regularly “left to their own devices”.

Samples at the privately run Wolverhampton lab, owned by Immensa Health Clinic, were wrongly processed or cross-contaminated, leading to incorrect test results, while faulty air conditioning and fluctuating humidity levels within the site also led to spoiled tests, one source said.

Earlier this month the lab was linked to 43,000 false negative coronavirus test results prompting calls for people affected to get re-tested.

Our science correspondent Sam Lovett has the full story below:

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 13:00

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1 in 50 people in England had Covid, latest figures show

One in 50 is the equivalent of about 1.1 million people, and is the same proportion of people who were estimated to have coronavirus at the peak of the second wave in early January.

Around one in 50 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to October 22, up from one in 55 the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

Additional reporting by PA

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 12:35

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Vaccinated travellers to Northern Ireland can use lateral flow tests

Fully vaccinated travellers to Northern Ireland will be able to use lateral flow tests to enter the nation from Sunday.

The rule change only applies to non-red list countries but is in line with the UK’s switch to lateral flow tests from PCR tests.

From 24 October, double-vaccinated travellers returning to England have been able to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test with seven countries set to be removed from the UK’s red list from Monday.

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 12:20

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Tonga reports its first COVID-19 case

The island nation of Tonga has reported its first coronavirus case after a New Zealand plane traveller tested positive.

The island has managed to remain Covid free using strict isolation methods to protect its underresourced health system.

Tonga’s Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa said in a radio address that the traveler was among 215 passengers who had arrived on a flight from the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Wednesday and had been isolating at a quarantine hotel.

According to news website Matangi Tonga, the prime minister is expected to make an announcement about future lockdowns on Monday.

Nearby island nation Fiji, also managed to avoid significant outbreaks of the virus until earlier this year in April when the delta variant led to more than 50,000 infections and 673 deaths.

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 12:00

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Sadiq Khan receives his booster and flu jab

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan received his booster and flu jab on Friday while calling for eligible members of the public to do the same.

The number of coronavirus cases in London continues to rise with the current seven-day rate standing at 287.4 cases per 100,000 population, compared to 156.6 per 100,000 last October half-term.

Health experts have warned that the NHS faces a double threat of flu and coronavirus if no further restrictions are put in place.

Sadiq Khan called on the government to mandate face masks on public transport to tackle rising infection rates.

(Getty Images)

Thomas Kingsley29 October 2021 11:45



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