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The UK has recorded a worrying 3,539 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, adding to fears that the country is currently being hit by the crest of a second wave of the deadly disease.
That means infection levels are now the highest they've been on a daily basis since May 17, when 3,562 new cases were confirmed while the UK was in full lockdown.
For reference, Thursday saw 2,919 new cases recorded, with 14 deaths also confirmed.
In total, 41,608 Brits have now died with the disease according to the government figures – an increase of six fatalities in the last 24 hours.
The highest rate of daily infections in the country was recorded on May 1 this year, when 6,201 new Covid-19 infections were confirmed.
That dropped to as low as 352 new cases by July 6, but has been rising again ever since – at first slowly, but with a marked increase since late August.
Earlier on Friday, the Government Office for Science confirmed the UK's R number – which monitors how quickly the virus is spreading – is now somewhere between 1.0 and 1.2 and the UK could now be at risk of rapid growth.
This is up from 0.9 to 1.1 last week, and scientists have said the UK could now be at risk of rapid infection growth as the R number is now above one.
The R number represents the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.
Current figures are driven by local outbreaks, not a national average, the government has said, and scientists said estimates may be less reliable when overall presence of the virus is low.
The daily growth rate for the UK as a whole has been between -1% and 3%, up from -1% and 2%.
The news comes three days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "Rule of Six" – which will ban any indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than six people – becomes legally enforceable in England.
Announced on Tuesday evening and unveiled officially during a government press conference on Wednesday, there will be some exemptions, including weddings, funerals and for educational purposes.
Councils will be able to employ "Covid marshals" to ensure people are sticking to social distancing rules going forwards.
- Boris Johnson
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