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Covid: 6,968 new coronavirus cases in the UK

A further 6,968 people have tested positive for coronavirus  across the UK, government statistics have revealed.

It is the third highest number of cases on record, displacing Thursday’s figure of 6,914.

Cases remains stubbornly high across the country, with the other two highest number of cases taking place on Tuesday (7,143 cases) and Wednesday (7,108 cases).

It takes the total number of positive tests in the UK to 467,146.

Experts have warned the daily figures during the first wave could be misleading as it is unclear how many people were infected during the first wave due to a lack of testing capacity in the community at the time.

Deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test rose on Friday to 66, up from 59 on Thursday but a slight decrease on the 71 deaths recorded on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Number of new coronavirus cases recorded in 24 hours to 9am on Friday

The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 is now at 2,376, but is still down from April’s high of 17,172.

Testing capacity is at 310,288, while only 264,979 tests were processed in the same 24 hour period until 9am on Friday.

This is still below the 500,000 tests Boris Johnson had pledged to be carrying out each day by the end of October.

Separate data released by the government on Friday shows the R number-which measures how much the disease is growing or shrinking- is between 1.3-1.6,  up from 1.2-1.5 the previous week.

An R number of 1.3 and 1.6 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 13 and 16 other people.

Breakdown of figures across the UK

England

A further 47 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,096, NHS England said on Friday.

Patients were aged between 51 and 97 and all except two, aged 59 and 92, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between September 26 and October 1.

Four other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

Northern Ireland

A further 934 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Northern Ireland – more than double the previous daily high of 424 on Wednesday.

One further death was recorded and the number of hospital inpatients with the virus dropped from 70 to 65.

Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a further 775 new cases and four deaths in Scotland.

The first minister also said SNP MP Margaret Ferrier should resign as an MP after travelling on public transport with coronavirus.

Wales

There have been a further 462 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 24,845.

Public Health Wales said three further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic increasing to 1,625.