UK records 7,143 new coronavirus cases - largest daily increase since start of pandemic

29 September 2020, 16:37 | Updated: 29 September 2020, 17:05

Shoppers, some wearing face masks, walk along Regent Street in London
Shoppers, some wearing face masks, walk along Regent Street in London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

7,143 coronavirus cases have been reported across the UK in the past 24 hours - the largest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were also 71 further deaths, the largest daily increase since early August, bringing the UK total to 42,072.

The overall number of cases confirmed in the UK as of 9am on Tuesday is 446,156, according to the Government's coronavirus dashboard.

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Experts have previously warned that describing the daily figure as a record could be "misleading" as it is not clear how many people were actually infected during the height of the first wave due to a lack of community testing at the time.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been nearly 57,900 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

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The figures came as the Prime Minister apologised after getting his own rules wrong when asked to clarify the "rule of six."

Speaking in a press conference today, the Prime Minister said: "On the rule of six, outside the areas such as the North East where extra measures have been brought in, it's six inside, six outside, and in the North East or other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in you should follow the guidance of local authorities.

"But it is six in a home, six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside. That is the situation here."

However current rules in England state gatherings of more than six people - whether it be indoors or outdoors - are banned.

The only exemptions for this rule are for households which are already larger than six, bubbles of more than six, or gathering for education or work.

But the PM has since apologised for the mistake.

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He tweeted: "In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.

"This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities."

Hundreds of students remain in lockdown across the UK amid a spate of Covid outbreaks at universities.

The Education Secretary said on Tuesday that they will be allowed to go home for Christmas, but many will need to self-isolate before they are allowed to leave.

There had been concerns about the impact safety measures would have on the holiday season.