COVID-19: UK records 31,117 new coronavirus cases and 85 more deaths

The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the UK has risen for the second day in a row following seven days of falls, government data shows.

31,117 infections have been reported in the latest 24-hour period, along with 85 further deaths.

The figures compare with 27,734 cases and 91 deaths announced yesterday.

Last Thursday, the UK reported 39,906 cases and 84 more deaths related to the virus.

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The seven-day average for infections was 37.1% down from the previous week, but fatalities were up by 28.9%.

Since the start of the pandemic, 129,515 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

43,873 people received their first dose of a COVID vaccine yesterday, taking the overall total to 46,733,115.

Also 171,341 had their second jab, meaning 37,782,252 are now fully inoculated.

The vaccines are estimated to have prevented 22 million infections and 60,000 deaths in England.

Meanwhile, the recent decrease in the number of confirmed COVID cases released by the government each day “looks a bit fishy”, according to a leading symptoms researcher whose study has shown infections are on the rise.

Professor Tim Spector, who co-founded the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, said a “sudden drop” in people testing positive for the virus in the government’s data is “very suspicious”.

His data has found one in 84 people are contracting the virus – equivalent to approximately 60,000 people each day.

It comes as a record 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS COVID-19 app in England and Wales.

Combined with the 600,000 people contacted by NHS Test and Trace, it means more than a million people may be told to self-isolate during this week-long period.

However, evidence suggests fewer Britons are following self-isolation rules than earlier in the pandemic – down from 86% to 79%.

There has been a surge in bookings for flights between the US and UK, following the government announcement that fully vaccinated travellers would not need to quarantine when they arrive in England from 4am on Monday.

Week-on-week bookings made with Virgin Atlantic are up 100%, with New York to London trips up by almost 250%.

The airline’s chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said: “We’ve missed flying our US-based customers and we’re excited to welcome them back on board soon.

“We now urge UK government to go further and move the US to the UK’s green list, and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers.”

However, cases in the US continue to rise, particularly among the non-vaccinated in part due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant.

Previously, only people who had been vaccinated in the UK could avoid quarantine when arriving from amber list countries – except France.

However, the government announced the rule change in a bid to reunite family and friends whose loved ones live overseas.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News the government is “increasingly confident” that more countries will be added to amber and green travel lists.

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