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COVID-19: England and Wales report 137,583 new cases and 73 further coronavirus-related deaths

England and Wales reported 137,583 new COVID cases and 73 coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, according to official data.

Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland will be updated after the bank holiday weekend.

The latest figures mean that more than 1.1 million people had a confirmed positive COVID test result between 27 December 2021 and 2 January 2022 – a 43% increase compared with the previous seven days, the government said.

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The data also shows that 981 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test were recorded over the last week – a 50% rise compared with the previous seven days.

However this week’s data has included a backlog of case and fatality numbers that were not fully reported over Christmas.

It comes after England reported a record high of 162,572 new COVID cases on New Year’s Day.

However, today the government revealed there was an error in how it reported cases by test type on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, saying: “Because of a processing issue, positive lateral flow tests followed by a negative PCR test in England were not removed on 31 December 2021 or 1 January 2022.”

The latest COVID data comes after it was announced secondary school students in England will once again be asked to wear masks in classrooms to help tackle the rise in coronavirus cases.

The government is also drawing up contingency plans over fears a quarter of public sector workers could be absent due to the Omicron wave.

Figures on Saturday showed hospital admissions in England have risen to their highest level since January 2021, while the number of NHS hospital staff absent due to the virus nearly doubled in a month.

However a cabinet minister suggested further COVID restrictions in England were not expected in the coming week thanks to people testing and getting their boosters.

Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay said there had been a “significant behaviour change” by the British public since Plan B measures were introduced in early December.

Those measures included wearing facemasks in most indoor public areas, increased testing, work from home guidance and COVID passes for large events and in nightclubs.

Asked whether further restrictions for England could be announced in the coming week, Mr Barclay said: “We don’t think the data supports that at this stage.

“Of course we keep the data under review but we’ve seen significant behaviour change as a result of plan B.”



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