Almost 16,000 coronavirus cases added due to system glitch

4 October 2020, 22:03 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 00:13

Over 16,000 positive coronavirus tests have been added to official numbers
Over 16,000 positive coronavirus tests have been added to official numbers. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Almost 16,000 coronavirus cases have been added to the Government's official figures after a glitch meant there were delays in processing the data.

A staggering 15,841 cases recorded between 25 September and 2 October were added.

The announcement came as 22,961 Covid-19 infections were recorded in the UK and takes the total to over 500,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.

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The Government also said a further 33 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, bringing the death toll in the UK to 42,350 so far.

Public Health England (PHE) provided a breakdown of how many cases were not included in each day's figures which shows that almost 9,000 cases have been added in the first two days of October alone.

It also reveals that the UK had over 10,000 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in a single day for the first time on 30 September.

It is now confirmed that on 1 October a total of 11,047 people tested positive, as well as 11,754 the following day.

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PHE explained the technical issue was caused by the fact that some files containing positive test results exceeded the maximum file size that takes these data files and loads them into central systems.

They said a rapid mitigation has been put in place that splits large files and a full end-to-end review of all systems has been instigated to mitigate the risk of this happening again.

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Interim Chief Executive at PHE, Michael Brodie, said: "A technical issue was identified overnight on Friday 2 October in the data load process that transfers Covid-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards.

"After rapid investigation, we have identified that 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily Covid-19 cases. The majority of these cases occurred in most recent days."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been asked to explain the error to MPs on Monday
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been asked to explain the error to MPs on Monday. Picture: PA Images

Mr Brodie confirmed that all of the 15,841 people who were missing from the numbers "received their Covid-19 test as normal" and were told to self-isolate.

He added: "NHS Test and Trace and PHE have worked to quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system and I would like to thank contact tracing and health protection colleagues for their additional efforts over the weekend.

"We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result."

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Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth labelled the incident "shambolic" and said that people across the UK "will be understandably alarmed" due to the significant increase in the numbers.

He said: "Matt Hancock should come to the House of Commons on Monday to explain what on earth has happened, what impact it has had on our ability to contain this virus and what he plans to do to fix test and trace."