Britain reported the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in three months on Monday as the number of infections reached levels last seen when lockdown restrictions were in place in England during the summer.
Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries and have risen more 60 per cent in the last month. Government data showed there were 49,156 new cases of coronavirus, up from 45,140 on Sunday, and the highest daily total since July 17. Overall, Britain has had one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the world, with more than 138,629 deaths so far.
However, with over two-thirds of the adult population fully vaccinated, it has reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death.
News18 takes a look at what could be causing this sudden spike in Covid cases in the UK.
Relaxations too soon?
The UK relaxed many restrictions sooner than most of the rest of Western Europe. Britain lifted the last remaining social distancing restrictions to contain the virus on July 19 when pubs and restaurants were allowed to operate at full capacity and nightclubs reopened their doors.
The number of cases has been steadily rising since schools returned from their summer holidays last month with studies showing infections rising in children even as there has been a fall in prevalence among adults.
Imperial College survey data suggests people in the UK are slightly more likely than some of their nearest European neighbours to take public transport, and less likely to avoid going out.
But what about immunity?
The BBC reported that a study, of Covid test results of vaccinated people who logged their symptoms in an app, suggested that protection provided by vaccines against the virus wanes significantly after five or six months.
In Israel, which originally led the world in terms of population vaccinated, scientists analysing their data said a spike in cases was down to falling protection from the jab. And cases levelled off once enough older people had been given a booster dose.
Dwindling vaccination numbers?
The UK also has lagged behind in rolling out the vaccines to adolescents amid concerns that some side effects undermined the net benefit of the shots given children are less likely to become seriously ill. The delay meant most older children weren’t offered a vaccine until the school year had started, and they’re now seeing the highest levels of infection in the population.
Prevalence of Covid-19 is growing among those aged 17 and younger, the latest React-1 study led by Imperial College London found last week.