The latest data shows that 25,091 people in England tested positive for Covid-19 at least once between 27 May and 2 June, up by 45% compared to the previous week.
The weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace, which were published by the Department for Health and Social Care (10 June), showed that 3,757,528 people were tested at least once, which was ‘consistent with the previous week’.
This is the highest weekly number of people testing positive since the week ending 31 March 2021, it said.
Additionally, 89.9% of in-person tests were returned within 24 hours, while three-quarters (76.8%) of test results were received within 48 hours for home test kits and satellite test centres.
The report also showed that nine in every 10 of the 19,958 cases (92%) transferred to the contact tracing system were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts.
However, this meant that more than 1,500 people who tested positive could not be reached or did not provide contact details.
Of this group, four in five (15,821) were able to provide information about one or more close contacts, it said.
Yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the delta variant first identified in India now comprises 91% of new Covid cases seen in the UK.
This comes after GP-led vaccination sites were told to bring forward second-dose appointments from 12 to eight weeks in a bid to tackle rising cases of the variant.
‘Precarious position’ to further ease restrictions
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the country is now in an ‘extremely precarious position’, adding that ‘even a slight increase’ in hospital admissions could put recovery efforts at risk.
‘With 45 per cent more infections week-on-week, pressure is mounting. Covid-19 hospital admissions are already going up and that will put capacity under strain, especially as the latest performance figures showed 5.1 million people are waiting to start treatment,’ he said.
The Government should be ready to push back the 21 June deadline for further easing restrictions to ‘help abate rising infections, ease pressure on the NHS and keep the public safe’, he said.
Meanwhile, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the figures were concerning, given the increased number of hospitalisations in the North West.
It highlights ‘clear room for improvement in NHS Test and Trace, as over 5,000 people who tested positive were not transferred into the system’, he said.
Recent data indicated that patients in the North West of England have had the highest rate of GP clinical diagnoses or positive tests for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.