Some UK bars to close early amid rising COVID-19 infections

A sign stating ‘appointments only’ at a coronavirus testing facility in Sutton Coldfield Birmingham

In total, 381,614 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Britain, and there have been 41,705 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

This is the lowest proportion since the week to June 17, when the figure stood at 31.3%.

It takes the total number of people under in areas under additional restrictions across the United Kingdom to more than 10 million, covering parts of Scotland, south Wales, the north west and north east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

One woman who lives in Leicester, which recorded 306 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, one of the sharpest increases in any city in the United Kingdom, said she had been unable to book a test for her son. Each day, around 200,000 people are successfully booking and taking tests and we are growing our capacity to 500,000 tests across the United Kingdom by the end of October, with more and more capacity being added each week.

It is "quite hard to give you an accurate figure" on the level of demand for coronavirus tests across the United Kingdom, says the Head of NHS Test and Trace.

As the system struggles to cope with soaring demand, people have been turning up to accident and emergency to ask for COVID-19 tests.

Mr Hancock admitted that it might be "a matter of weeks" before the testing problems are resolved.

But cases are sharply increasing too.

By contrast, for cases handled either online or by call centres, 63.7% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

Where communication details were available, 83.9 per cent of people were reached, and of all contacts identified, 73.9 per cent were reached.

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Between September 3 and September 9, 88.8% of pillar 1 test results were made available within 24 hours.

A "lighthouse" testing lab is to be opened in Newcastle, along with another one in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Nearly nine out of 10 pillar 1 test results - swab testing in Public Health England labs and NHS hospitals - were made available within 24 hours of the laboratory receiving the test.

The head of Test and Trace has said she doesn't believe "anybody was expecting to see the really sizeable increase in demand" for coronavirus tests.

NHS Providers, which represents NHS trust leaders, argued that the country was "a long way off where we need to be with testing".

Adam Marshall, director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "A truly comprehensive test and trace programme is essential if the United Kingdom is to manage the virus without further lockdowns, which will cripple businesses".

Ministers have acknowledged that families are unable to get tests or being offered them only at remote locations.

Last week Johnson laid out his ambition for a dramatic acceleration of the country's testing regime, with millions conducted each day to help the country get back to normal.

Baroness Harding, who is interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, is due to give evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee on Thursday.

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