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Hancock 'concerned' as nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 recorded in UK in 24 hours

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he is 'concerned' by the rise in the number of Coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

In new data announced on Sunday 6 August, a total of 2,988 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in the UK in just 24 hours. That number is the highest daily total since the end of May, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Care.

According to Public Health England, there have been increases in cases of the virus across England and cases have not been isolated to any particular area. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that most of the cases were among younger people;

“The cases are predominantly among younger people, but we've seen in other countries across the world and in Europe, this sort of rise in the cases amongst younger people leading to a rise across the population as a whole,” 

“It's so important that people don't allow this illness to infect their grandparents, and to lead to the sorts of problems that we saw earlier in the year.”

While the number of new daily cases has reached a level last seen in May, the number of confirmed deaths from the virus in the UK has continued to remain low. On Sunday, the most recent 24 hours of data showed that a further two people were confirmed to have died from the virus in the UK.

In the week ending 30 August 2020, the highest number of Pillar 2 (wider population swab testing) confirmed COVID-19 cases were in people aged 20-29 years olds, followed by 30-39-year-olds. 

The rise in cases, especially among younger people will concern many in a month where children and young people are returning to schools, colleges and universities and are generally interacting with others more than during lockdown. The risk of under 18s becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 has been considered very low and measures have been put in place in schools, such as year group bubbles to try and protect students and staff from the virus - but there are fears that young people could spread the virus to other family members.

On Sunday evening, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted that the rise in cases was "deeply concerning", saying it was "a stark reminder there is no room for complacency in suppressing Covid." Mr Ashworth also called on Matt Hancock to go to the House of Commons on Monday to explain the government's approach for tackling the virus.

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