The UK has recorded 938 new cases of coronavirus in a 24 hour period – the highest amount to be confirmed in 24 hours since June 26, six weeks ago.
On June 26 – which was nearly two weeks before pubs, restaurants and hairdressers opened as restrictions were relaxed on so-called “Super Saturday” – the number of new cases was 1,006.
Monday’s figure has increased from 789 on Sunday and 678 on Saturday, however, Mondays tend to be lower due to a slowdown in reporting over the weekend.
Since lockdown began, the lowest number of cases recorded in 24 hours was 353 on 6 July.
The Department of Health also recorded nine new deaths, bringing the death toll to 46,210.
The highest death toll reported on a Monday was Bank Holiday Monday, 13 April, when 717 deaths were recorded.
Earlier on Monday, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said pictures of younger people gathering in Scotland without physical distancing over the weekend made her “want to cry”.
A total of 18 new confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the country, but no confirmed deaths for the sixteenth day in a row.
Thirty new cases were reported on Friday in Scotland – the highest daily increase for eight weeks.
Sturgeon said that about half of the new cases confirmed in the last week had been among people aged between 20 and 39, and urged people to “consider how necessary their nights out are”.
Meanwhile in Wales, 24 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, meaning 17,339 people have now tested positive for the virus there. However, as in Scotland, no new deaths have been reported in Wales.
The new figures come one week after lockdown measures were tightened in parts of England after a surge of new coronavirus cases were reported in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and parts of East Lancashire.
From midnight last Thursday, separate households have not been allowed to meet indoors in the aforementioned areas.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said “households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules” was a reason for the stricter rules.
On Monday, Downing Street revealed that powers to ban movement in and out of coronavirus hotspots could be used to curb the spread of COVID-19 should the situation get worse.
Officials confirmed the measures – which could include shutting down transport networks – would be considered if needed to prevent a spike in cases.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan hit out at “totally unacceptable” reports that the capital could be effectively cut off from the rest of England if there was a surge in cases there, but Downing Street insisted no specific plans for the UK’s biggest city had been drawn up.
However, Number 10 acknowledged that measures to effectively ban travel around hotspots in England were part of the armoury to combat the disease.
The Contain framework drawn up by officials in July sets out “the possibility of putting in place restrictions on travel if there is an area that is particularly badly affected”, the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
Measures could be brought in under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 impose restrictions on gatherings – limiting how many people can meet and whether they can travel in and out of an area to do so – or shut down local or national transport systems.
Many have been debating on whether or not the UK will witness a “second wave” of infections.
Last week, an expert warned that a second wave of COVID-19 could take hold in the UK within “a few weeks” if the virus is not suppressed.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute medical research centre, made his remarks as the Daily Mail reported that Boris Johnson fears a resurgence within two weeks.
The paper reports that the PM’s worry comes as the weekly average of new coronavirus cases rose by 28% from three weeks ago.
Last week, the government told visitors to Spain they must quarantine upon returning to the UK, with Johnson warning: “I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”