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UK coronavirus cases rise by 3,991 with 20 more deaths as test shortages strike across country

THOUSANDS more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the biggest surge since May 8 as the UK’s death toll swells by 20.

Another 3,991 patients were revealed to have the virus overnight as health chiefs battle a rise in infections.

⚠ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Cases are at the highest rate since May 8
20 more people have died with the virus in the UK

A total of 11 people lost their lives in hospitals in England. Casualties were aged between 69 and 98, and all had known underlying health conditions.

In Scotland, one more person died, while Welsh authorities recorded no new fatalities.

Figures for Northern Ireland aren’t yet available.

Officials say the rise in cases is down to increased testing.

The number of people taking a test has increased dramatically since May – with the NHS Track and Trace system meaning those who are tested are more likely to have been exposed.

In the UK, 901 people are currently in hospital with Covid-19, with 115 of that number in ventilator beds.

It’s believed that there have been fewer hospital admission as many of those testing positive are young people – and less at risk.

However, today’s new tolls were reported amid fears that Covid-19 is spreading to care homes once again.

It comes as:

And The Sun exclusively revealed today that 740 schools have ALREADY been forced to send kids home as a result of a fiasco that has seen hotspots run out of tests.

Tens of thousands of children across England are stuck in their bedrooms self-isolating because of the dire shortage of swabs.

Furious headteachers warned youngsters are being plunged into a second “lockdown by default” because of the crisis.

Some 240,000 people are awaiting the results of tests in the UK – and centres have been mobbed with huge queues.

Coronavirus testing centres - like this one at Chessington in south west London - have been overrun with Brits looking to be tested
Coronavirus testing centres – like this one at Chessington in south west London – have been overrun with Brits looking to be tested
Around the country, 740 schools have already been forced to send kids home
Around the country, 740 schools have already been forced to send kids home
Headteachers say kids are in a 'second lockdown by default' as there aren't enough tests available for them to get back to class
Headteachers say kids are in a ‘second lockdown by default’ as there aren’t enough tests available for them to get back to class
PA:Press Association
Despite an increase in positive cases, Brits have been making the most of the beautiful September weather[/caption]
London News Pictures
Many flocked to beaches as the mercury peaked yesterday[/caption]

And this week, a new report by Oxford University public policy researcher Toby Phillips suggests Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out may be behind the huge surge in new positive infections in the UK.

He also said it could have “encouraged extravagant levels of eating out” – as eateries had already almost recovered from lockdown when the scheme began.

As cases rise, it was revealed yesterday that no tests were available in 46 out of 48 of the nation’s worst Covid hotspots.

Meanwhile, new students appear to be flouting the new ‘rule of six’.

The new clampdown measures were introduced across England to lower the number of people meeting in groups indoors and out.

Under the former rules, no more than 30 people could meet inside with up to one other household, but this has been slashed to just six.

The new rules also stipulate that the six people can be from different households, in an attempt to bring rules in line with outdoor gatherings.

But as universities open again, there are concerns the rules aren’t being followed.

The return of classes has also led health chiefs in London to consider curfews to stop a second wave.

Some 500,000 students are set to arrive in the capital, and Professor Kevin Fenton, the London director of Public Health England, today warned that further restrictions could be imposed.

Young people between the ages of 17-21 with a “lack of social distancing” have been blamed for the spike in infections by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.



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