The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has risen again, with 6,874 recorded on Friday.
It’s up 240 from the 6,634 infections recorded on Thursday.
It follows a week of warnings about the resurgence of COVID-19 which started with Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, saying the virus is doubling every seven days.
The government then introduced a raft of new rules for England – including encouraging office staff to work from home, pubs closing at 10pm and wedding attendance being cut from 30 to 15 – aimed at restricting the spread of the virus.
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However, Boris Johnson has also hinted at a second national lockdown, saying the government “reserves the right to go further” if infections don’t fall.
Meanwhile, the government also said a further 34 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Friday. This brings the UK total to 41,936.
However, this figure did not include deaths in Scotland, with a message on the data dashboard reading: “Due to a power outage at National Records of Scotland we have not been able to update the deaths figures for Scotland.”
The latest figures come after the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) announced the UK’s COVID reproduction “R” rate has risen again, now ranging between 1.2 and 1.5.
R represents the average number of people each COVID-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially.
An R between 1.2 and 1.5 means that on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people.
Further local social distancing measures have been announced, including lockdowns in Swansea and Cardiff and reimposed restrictions in Stockport banning mixing between households.
Meanwhile, a scientist advising the government said university students may have to be told to stay on campus over Christmas in the event of coronavirus outbreaks.
Sir Mark Walport, who is on SAGE, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Universities are very large communities, they bring together people from across the country and they’re far from monastic communities these days.
“The one thing that we don’t want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.
“If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.”