New data showed a surge in positive cases in recent days (Image: LHR AIRPORTS LIMITED/AFP via Get)
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Freedom Day on June 21 is “on a knife edge” as new data shows people testing positive surged 45% in a week.
Health bosses are still crunching the numbers on how well vaccines are working as the virus rips through younger generations who have not had both doses.
The latest weekly Test and Trace figures showed that 25,091 people tested positive for the virus in England at least once in the week to June 2.
Dr Jenny Harries, the boss of the new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “We are we are progressing as a country not quite in the right direction that we’d all want to.
“The numbers are rising. They are still very small in the totality of cases but you will probably have seen yesterday we had 1,000 [hospital] admissions.
Dr Jenny Harries warned the UK is progressing 'not quite in the right direction'
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
“The important thing here is, this really is a knife edge decision point, because the cases are rising and that’s becoming clearer.
“Modelling does suggest that we will start to see a further rise, not necessarily immediately but in the coming weeks.”
Symptomatic infections appear to have doubled in a week according to King’s College London national symptom tracker app.
The Zoe Covid app, downloaded by four million Brits, estimated there are now 11,908 new daily symptomatic infections, up from 5,677 the week before.
It puts the R number at 1.3 for the UK and as high as 1.4 in England.
Study lead Prof Tim Spector said: “The Covid-19 situation in the UK has rapidly changed from one of the best performing nations to a nation again struggling with rising cases.
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“Official confirmed cases are now around 7,500, which is the highest daily figure since late February.
“However when you dig into the data, it’s clear that this is an epidemic among the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated populations in the UK and, due to the way vaccines have been rolled out, is largely affecting younger generations.”
Deaths from Covid-19 are still at very low levels but younger hospital patients are still requiring oxygen and taking up hospital beds.
Dr Harries, speaking in the Royal Society of Medicine Covid-19 webinar, said the “critical” data in the coming days would be on how well vaccines are protecting the population.
She added: “If you look at the data the 60-year-old age group are genuinely just not getting ill.
“These are the doubly vaccinated [older] individuals with high vaccine uptake. Where they’re appearing in hospital they are usually unvaccinated or just having had a single dose.
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“So the key message is; make sure everyone has two doses.
“That’s clearly having an impact but quite what the size that impact will be is the bit that we’re still waiting on.”
Dr Harries added that she was now “very confident” Brits would need booster jabs in the Autumn.
The UKHSA has recently been set up by Government to absorb NHS Test and Trace and will replace Public Health England.
The Tories have been criticised for the poor performance of NHS Test and Trace which has failed to prevent devastating surges.
Dr Harries admitted that in her interview for the job of UKHSA chief executive she was asked how she would “restore confidence” in the beleaguered service which has cost £37 billion of taxpayers money.
Boris Johnson is considering whether to press ahead with lockdown lifting on June 21
(Image: Getty Images)
“It’s a really interesting question and it’s one that I answered at my interview actually,” she said.
“One of the things which the organisation has done in recent months – and perhaps could have done a little bit earlier – is to work with local authorities and with their directors of public health.”
England’s contact tracing programme, set up by former head and Tory peer Dido Harding, is criticised for paying outsourcing firms to run call centres which failed to contact enough people with the virus.
Dr Harries added: “Local authorities will know how to contact people and how to work with families who may not otherwise have come forward.”