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Coronavirus infections ‘doubling every nine days’ as cases surge across the UK

Coronavirus infections are doubling every nine days in the UK, a study has found.

The Imperial College London study of 86,000 volunteers in England found infections were spiralling across the country,  as the second wave of the virus hits a "critical" stage

It comes after the virus reproduction rate – known as R – was found to be  at nearly 1.6 last week – up from 1.16 in the previous assesment between September 18 and October 5.

If the R rate is between 1.2 and 1.5, 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people.

The study found evidence that areas with previously low rates of infection were following trends seen in the worst-affected regions, The Mirror reports.

Researchers warned the situation needs to change before Christmas, and more stringent measures were needed as current restrictions are "not sufficient".

Yesterdat the UK death toll topped 300 for the second day running and new restrictions mean around 8.7 million people in England will be living under Tier 3 lockdowns from Friday.

Analysis of swab results from 86,000 people taken between October 16-25 show there are around 96,000 new infections per day.

Infections are doubling every nine days, and its estimated  R is above 2 in the South East, East of England, London and South West, the study suggested.

The experts warned: "The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage.

"Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if further hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 are to be avoided."

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Coronavirus lockdown rules are set to stay in place until next March after a three-month second peak of the virus, leaked documents reveal.

A doomsday report for a "reasonable worst case scenario" set out by the government's SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) sets out a grim prognosis for the winter ahead with a further 85,000 deaths from Covid-19.

The nation's top scientists, led by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, have laid out a horrifying vision for the winter.

The document put together by the experts, seen by the Spectator, said they were working on the "core assumption" it would be a "difficult autumn followed by a large winter peak".

In the scenario the number of fresh infections doubles every two weeks.

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Lockdown restrictions  would have to be placed on the country to "reduce non-household contacts to half of their normal pre-March 2020 lockdown levels".

Schools would stay open to try and shield children's education from further damage from the pandemic. They were closed when the initial lockdown was introduced in March.

The experts predict there could be 500 daily deaths for at 'least three months' with a shocking peak of 800 a day by late February, the document reportedly says.

Another horrifying outlook in a study commissioned by Sir Patrick suggested there could be as many as 120,000 deaths over the winter.

The lockdown rules would need to be "sustained until the end of March 2021" while some restrictions would be in place until April or longer.

Last month Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty suggested there could be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October if measures were not taken to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The pair are thought to be arguing with government ministers for stricter lockdown restrictions in England ahead of  Christmas.

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