This is an increase of 56 per cent in positive cases on the previous week and is the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

When it comes to the percentage of positive cases out of the total people tested, the latest data shows a positivity rate of 9 per cent.

There were 51,475 positive cases out of a total 588,895 people tested.

Rowland Kao, professor of veterinary epidemiology and data science at the University of Edinburgh, said the positivity rate and the fact that test numbers are not increasing may be a “troubling indicator” that Test and Trace is not keeping up with demand.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said: “It is very worrying to see such a large increase in the number of people testing positive with Covid-19.

“Trust chief executives across the North West, North East and Yorkshire are telling us that Covid-related hospital admissions are rapidly rising as well.

“We need prompt action to prevent a full-blown second Covid surge.

“We need to make difficult decisions now, rather than later, when it may be too late.

“And we need every single member of the public to play their part – hands, face and space – as they did in the first phase of Covid, however frustrating and burdensome they find any restrictions or public health advice.

“It’s also worrying that NHS Test and Trace performance in key areas such as the proportion of positive cases transferred into the Test and Trace system, of close contacts reached, and of tests turned round within 24 hours, are all getting worse when we need them to get better, quickly.”

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