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UK coronavirus cases rise by 3,395 amid test shortages COVID19

UK coronavirus cases rise by 3,395 amid test shortages

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 18 Sep 2020, 08:02 am

London/Xinhua: The number of coronavirus cases in Britain rose by 3,395 on Thursday with 21 more deaths as the country is struggling to cope with test shortages.

The total number of coronavirus cases hit 381,614 while the total number of coronavirus-related deaths reached 4,1705, official statistics showed Thursday.

The latest figures came as Britain is faced with the continuing challenges of test shortages. Countries including Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccine.

Dido Harding, the chief of the test-and-trace programme of the British National Health Service (NHS) and the newly created National Institute for Health Protection, said the sudden increase in test demand had not been anticipated.

Demand for coronavirus tests across England is three to four times higher than capacity, said Harding, adding that schools reopening has contributed to the test shortages.

"We've seen a very marked increase in the number of young children coming forward to be tested. So, a doubling of the number of children under 17 coming forward to be tested. And more than that in the ages of five to nine," she said.

Also on Thursday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that a series of restrictive measure will be implemented in parts of Britain, as "concerning rates" of coronavirus infection are seen there.

From Friday, residents in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham should not socialize with other people outside their own households or support bubble, said Hancock.

Meanwhile, the British government announced Thursday that people arriving from Singapore and Thailand in England and Scotland will not need to self-isolate from Saturday morning.

But travelers coming from Slovenia and Guadeloupe will have to quarantine for two weeks, according to the government.