Nottingham is facing the UK’s latest local lockdown after a six-fold increase in coronavirus cases in a week.
Local authorities expect the government to implement tougher measures this weekend but it has already told people not to mix indoors with people from different households.
The director of public health at Nottingham Allison Challenger said: ‘We have seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in Nottingham. Our infection rate is now higher than in many other parts of the country.
‘This is an important and worrying change.’
Nottingham’s infection rate has risen sharply in the past week, with 1,465 new cases reported in seven days from October 3 to October, the equivalent of 440.1 cases per 100,000 people.
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In the seven days from 26 September it was 71.2 per 100,000 to 26 September – 237 new cases per week.
A large number of new infections have been identified at the University of Nottingham, where there were 425 confirmed cases from week to Friday.
Officials say the measures currently in place are not enough to stop the spread of the virus and require similar controls in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
Mrs Challenger added: ‘We urge people to take action now and not to mix with other people inside the house. It’s okay to mix with people in your support bubble unless someone has tested positive or has no symptoms.
‘We will tell people who have symptoms of Covid-19 – high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell – to immediately self-isolate and book a test by calling 119.
‘And we strongly advise young people, including city students, to stay in their social bubble and not to mingle with other people in their homes.’
It comes as the rate of covid-19 infection in the UK has almost doubled in a week.
An analysis by the PA News Agency shows that the UK-wide seven-day rate is currently 125.7 cases per 100,000 people, up from 63.8 per 100,000 a week ago.
On Sunday, 8,478 people were hospitalized with England’s Covid-19, the highest daily total in four months, up from ૨ 241 a week earlier.
Other areas with higher rates are Manchester, Novsley and Liverpool, while Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Leeds have also seen a sharp rise in their infection rates over the past seven days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested Monday that it could unveil soon Three-level lockdown system to change current restrictions.
A leaked document, viewed by The Guardian, suggests that things will remain the same as Level 1 because it has a ‘rule of thumb’ instead. At the other end of the scale, shops and pubs will be closed on level 3 and all social contact between different houses will be banned.
Critics say the plan would spark a so-called “sooner rather than later” crackdown on scientists.
Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College College London, said today that more steps needed to be taken to reduce contact between homes when schools and universities remain open.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four, he said closing ‘extended half-term’ or hospitality venues could be options to bring the virus under control.
He said: ‘So we are in a more difficult situation, if we want to keep schools open we have to further reduce contacts in other sectors of society.
‘You may have heard that measures are being discussed throughout society, such as extended half-term, as we try to reduce transmission for a unified period.
‘I think those measures should be considered.’
Prophet Ferguson, whose modeling led to the original nationwide lockdown, also said that contact tracing data showed that participating in bar and rest attendance rents was a risk factor for contracting the virus.
He said: ‘If people are sensible sitting outside, the risk is really very low.
‘I think the risk of meeting indoors, in a closed environment, really comes.’
‘Of course as the weather cools down, it’s less exciting to meet outside the house, people obviously want to meet inside the house, but the same relocation unfortunately happens.’
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