The UK saw a record surge in coronavirus infections tonight, with more than 12,000 new cases – almost twice as many as yesterday.
Numbers released by the Ministry of Health five hours late showed a total of 12,872 new positive tests.
It was a hammer blow in the hope that the virus's reach had calmed down and was attributed to a "technical error" in the total week count.
The Ministry of Health warned that infection numbers could be even higher "in the coming days" after the problem resulted in thousands of cases being overlooked by official numbers.
A statement said: “Due to a technical problem that has now been resolved, the publication of a number of COVID-19 cases on the Dashboard in England has been delayed.
"This means that the total reported in the coming days will include some additional cases from September 24th to October 1st, increasing the number of cases reported."
While the number of infections rose sharply, the number of deaths remained broadly at the level of the rest of the week.
Today there are 49 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. That brings the number across the UK to 42,317 since the pandemic began.
The number is the highest since last Wednesday when there were 51 deaths.
But it largely matched the numbers for the rest of the week, which, aside from yesterday's unusually low number of 12, included numbers between 35 and 46 deaths a day.
Separate figures today showed the UK had another 52 hospital deaths as ward deaths more than doubled in a week, preliminary figures show.
Of these, 42 new deaths were reported in England, another four in Scotland, five in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Almost half of hospital deaths in England occurred in the North West, where 1,603 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours despite local Covid-19 restrictions.
The tentative total was up 126 percent from last Saturday when it was confirmed that 23 people have died in the hospital.
Everyone who died in England was between 40 and 80 years old.
Health officials in Scotland also confirmed 764 more cases of Covid-19 today as Public Health Wales reported another 576 infections – up from 462 announced the day before.
The Ministry of Health warned that infection numbers could be even higher "in the coming days" after a "technical problem" resulted in thousands of cases being overlooked by official numbers
The announcement was posted on the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs website today after the figures were released
In Northern Ireland, 726 new cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.
Britain's second wave of coronavirus showed signs of slowing on Friday as the number of new positive tests was only 1.4 percent higher than last week.
Another 6,968 cases were announced yesterday, just slightly higher than the 6,874 last Friday. This small increase is due to the fact that most days in September were up more than 35 percent from the previous week.
Friday was the lowest weekly increase since August 25, suggesting that last month's resurgence has peaked in some cases.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also confirmed signs that the outbreak is slowing and estimated there were 8,400 cases of the disease daily in England for the week leading up to September 24. This represents a decrease of 12.5 percent from the 9,600 assumed infections that occurred each day the week before.
The ONS described its results as "limited evidence" that transmission of the virus "may level off" after spiking sharply in August and September.
The estimate is based on 300,000 tests sent to households across the country in the past six weeks. They gave 400 positive swabs and the result is applied to the entire population using mathematical models.
The latest numbers come as government sources revealed today that a Covid-19 vaccination in the UK could only be "three months away".
The tentative total hospital deaths rose 122 percent from last Saturday when it was confirmed that 23 people have died in the hospital. Pictured: Oxford Circus on Friday
Almost half of hospital deaths in England occurred in the North West, where 1,603 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours despite local Covid-19 restrictions. Pictured: London
Every adult in the country could be vaccinated against Covid-19 around Easter, once Easter is scheduled to train an army of auto workers to administer the shock.
It agrees with Boris Johnson's suggestion that the rule of six could be suspended on Christmas Day to ensure a family of five can invite both grandparents out for a festive lunch.
The Prime Minister stressed that the government would "do everything possible to ensure that Christmas is as normal as possible for everyone".
Mr Johnson has often identified a vaccine as key to lifting many of the restrictions placed on the public since March, but has insisted that we must never compromise or sacrifice speed in the search for a vaccine.
It comes just days after claims that the UK's soaring coronavirus infection rate could actually speed up vaccination trials and move the world one step closer to eradicating the disease.
Scientists are skeptical, however, and say it could take much longer to get full vaccination, The Times reported.
Earlier this week, a report from the Royal Society warned that distributing and manufacturing the vaccine on such a mass scale would pose significant challenges.
Nilay Shah, Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London and co-author of the report, said, “Even if the vaccine is available, it doesn't mean everyone will be vaccinated within a month.
Boris Johnson, pictured last night, has often identified a vaccine as key to lifting many of the restrictions placed on the public since March, but has insisted that we should never compromise or sacrifice safety for speed when we are looking for one
“We're talking about six months, nine months … a year. There is no question that life will suddenly go back to normal in March. & # 39;
Oxford University has been testing a vaccine on humans since April and there is hope that it could be approved by regulators by Christmas.
Nursing home residents and staff will be the first to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in front of NHS staff and anyone over 80
Nursing home residents and staff will be the first to receive a Covid-19 vaccine if approved, according to new government recommendations.
All over 80s and NHS staff will be in second place, updated guidelines from the Joint Committee on Vaccinating and Vaccinating States.
The body, which consists of 20 top scientists, advises the ministers on all vaccines. It admitted that its guidelines for a UK Covid-19 vaccination system are likely to change in the future.
Matt Hancock had previously pledged that Brits would be at the top of the queue with underlying terms for each push. But millions who live with heart disease or other diseases that increase the risk of dying from Covid-19 will not be vaccinated under the new guidelines until everyone over 65 is vaccinated.
WHO GETS A COVID-19 JAB FIRST?
According to the ranking proposed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, the vaccines will be introduced in the following order:
- older adults living in a nursing home and nursing home workers
- all these 80s and older as well as health and social workers
- all these 75 years and older
- all these 70 years and older
- all these 65 years and older
- High risk adults under 65 years of age with underlying health problems
- Intermediate risk adults under 65 years of age with underlying health problems
- all these 60 years and older
- all these 55 years and older
- all these 50 years and older
- Rest of the population (priority to be determined)
Government sources involved in the highly anticipated vaccine said it would take less than six months to complete a full program with no children.
Plans to speed up the process include establishing drive-through vaccination centers and rules that will allow more staff to give the shocks.
The armed forces could even be called in for additional help.
"We'll see you six months closer and it will likely be a lot shorter," a government source said.
Giving two doses of a vaccine to 53 million adults within a six month period would require 600,000 thrusts per day.
Those who need the injections most urgently are at the top of the list, which means that residents and nursing home staff will receive them as soon as they are ready.
Next up are people over 80 and NHS staff, followed by those over 65, younger adults at higher risk, and those over 50.
Some nursing home managers were asked last month for a list of eligible frontline workers.
Around 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccination, which has yet to prove successful, have already been ordered by the government.
Hopefully by the end of this year the scientists will know if it prevents at least 50 percent of infections, the threshold for success.
The UK is currently tied to the European Medicines Agency until January, which means it will not be able to administer the drug even if it has been approved by UK regulators.
However, ministers have announced plans to change the law so that vaccinations can start earlier.
The Ministry of Health said, "We are confident that we have sufficient supplies or transportation, PPE and logistics skills to deploy a Covid-19 vaccine across the country as soon as possible."
The Royal Society report highlighted several challenges, including the need to inject humans with RNA, a type of genetic material, in some of the most promising studies, even though an RNA vaccine has never been produced on a large scale.
Questions also remain about supply chains, with some vaccines having to be stored at -80 ° C during transport.
In addition, up to 80 percent of the population may need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, even if a vaccine is found to be 90 percent effective at reducing transmission.
Prof. Shah added that around 20,000 people would need to be recruited by the NHS to dispense the drug and that field hospitals may need to be built for the mass vaccination program.
It comes after it was revealed that New York-based Codagenix plans to begin experiments with its vaccine in London by the end of the year.
The sting will be of a type known as a live attenuated vaccine, which means people are given a genetically modified version of the coronavirus that is weaker than the original but still contagious.
People enter Oxford Circus underground station in London after the 10 p.m. curfew that pubs and restaurants are subject to to combat the surge in coronavirus cases in England
Live attenuated vaccines – like the MMR burst – stimulate the immune system in the same way as real Covid-19, but rely on viruses that cannot cause serious illness.
According to Codagenix, after a single dose, the vaccine was successful in animal studies and is said to induce immunity to different parts of the coronavirus, rather than just the "spike protein" on the outside that many others have focused on.
This could mean that it will still work if the virus mutates. Using a live virus can allow medical professionals to create a type of immunity that is similar to the body's natural type.
Oxford University's lead vaccine candidate was due to launch this fall, but studies stalled when infection rates subsided over the summer.
Studies had to be relocated abroad to Brazil, the United States and South Africa, where the coronavirus was still widespread, to test whether the sting could prevent infection.
To prove beyond any doubt that a vaccine works, scientists need to vaccinate tens of thousands of people, then send them back into the community and wait for a few to get infected.
This was a sticking point for the Oxford team as there was barely any Covid-19 transmission in the UK for months.
However, experts have told MailOnline that the only "silver lining" for rising Covid-19 rates in the UK is to speed up this process.
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