The UK has recorded 17,540 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. The new figure is an increase of 3,300 above those reported on Wednesday, and smashes the country’s previous record for cases registered in a single day.

A further 77 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were also reported by UK health officials on Thursday. The latest data means that a total of 561,815 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK since the start of the pandemic, and 42,592 have died within 28 days of a test. 

The alarming numbers come just days after it was revealed that almost 16,000 cases of the virus had been missed by the NHS Test and Trace system due to an IT error.

It then emerged on Wednesday that Public Health England’s (PHE) testing system has been hit by a supply chain issue caused by a “very significant” drop in processing capacity at a supplier’s warehouse.

Also on rt.com Glitch that led to 15,000-case spike in NHS Covid-19 case numbers ‘found and fixed,’ says UK govt

The number of Covid-19 patients in English hospitals rose to 3,044 on Thursday, compared to 2,944 a day earlier. This marks the highest number of coronavirus hospitalizations since June 22. 

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director for PHE, said: “We are seeing a definite and sustained increase in cases and admissions to hospital. The trend is clear and it is very concerning.”

Giving the keynote address at the NHS Providers annual conference on Thursday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are at a perilous moment in the course of this pandemic.” 

I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the North West and the North East of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and parts of Yorkshire.

Thursday’s figures come as a further 1,600 students tested positive for the virus at two universities in the city of Newcastle in the North East of England.

Newcastle University reported that 1,003 students and 12 staff have contracted Covid-19 in the past week, while there were 619 new cases at Northumbria University.

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