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Britain records 34,029 new Covid cases and 193 deaths

The UK has recorded 34,029 new Covid cases and 193 deaths in the past 24 hours, official figures show.

Despite infections soaring to near record levels in all four of the UK nations, England’s Covid R number is estimated to have fallen slightly to between 0.9 and 1.1.

The previous estimate was between 1.1 and 1.3.

It suggests that the rate of spread of coronavirus is slowing in the country.

Meanwhile, around one in 50 people in private households in England had Covid in the week to October 30, unchanged from the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One in 50 is the equivalent of about 1.1 million people, and is the same proportion of people who were estimated to have coronavirus at the peak of the second wave in early January.

It is also the highest level of infections since weekly ONS estimates began in July 2020.

In Wales, around one in 40 people had Covid-19 last week – unchanged on the previous week and again the highest since estimates began.

The latest figure for Northern Ireland is one in 65, up week-on-week from one in 75 but slightly below the record high of one in 40 estimated in mid-August.

For Scotland, the estimate is one in 80 – down slightly from one in 75 the previous week, and below September’s peak of one in 45.

The ONS described the longer-term trend in England, Scotland and Wales as “uncertain”, while the percentage of people testing positive in Northern Ireland has “continued to increase”.

All figures are for people in private households, and do not include hospitals, care homes and other settings.

The number of Covid-19 infections in the UK, which is estimated every week by the ONS, is not the same as the number of new cases of coronavirus, which are reported every day by the Government.

The number of infections provides a snapshot of the prevalence of Covid-19 within the entire community population of the UK, and estimates the percentage of people who are likely to test positive for the virus at any one point in time – regardless of when they caught the virus, how long they have had it, and whether they have symptoms or not.

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