In Australia, the state of New South Wales has reported 1,431 new Covid cases while 12 people have died from the virus, as the state premier, Gladys Berejiklian, warned cases were likely to peak over the next fortnight.
An unvaccinated woman aged in her 30s was among the dead. The woman, identified as mother-of-four Jamila Yaghi, died in her Guildford home on Wednesday, one day after testing positive for the virus.
While investigations are under way to determine if she had underlying conditions, it is understood authorities were trying to understand how long the woman had been symptomatic before getting tested and seeking care.
Despite the case record on Friday, Berejiklian said health authorities expected cases to continue to grow and peak over the coming two weeks.
She said this aligned with a predicted peak in hospitalisation in October, because of a lag between initial infection and serious sickness that requires hospitalisation, adding:
The next fortnight is likely to be our worst in terms of the number of cases, but as I have said it is not the number of cases we need to be focusing on, but how many of those cases end up in our intensive care wards and hospitals and how many people we have vaccinated as quickly as possible.
More on those ONS statistics coming in for England today.
The overall picture masks regional differences: the survey shows that the percentage of people testing positive increased in the south-west of England and West Midlands in the most recent week, but decreased in London and the east Midlands.
There are also age disparities, with infection rate having risen in those aged 70 and older – despite remaining low – and early signs of an increase in those aged 25-34. By contrast, rates are showing some signs of falling in younger adults, from school year 12 to age 24.
Sarah Crofts, head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said the results findings show a mixed picture of infection rates across the UK. She adds:
While rates are level overall in England, we are seeing a possible impact of the holiday season in the south-west as infections are among their highest estimated rates. Meanwhile, however, infections have decreased in London and the east Midlands.
In Scotland we are seeing our highest estimate of infections since we started collecting data last autumn with a notably sharp increase recorded in the week to 28 August.