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COVID-19 cases in England accelerating rapidly, official estimate shows

A public health information message is pictured beside the road approaching the city centre of Durham, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Durham, Britain September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - New cases of COVID-19 in England almost doubled to around 6,000 per day in the latest week to Sept. 10, according to new official estimates that are likely to raise speculation about a new national lockdown.

The latest modelled estimate, which is based on samples of the population, compares with 3,200 per day in last week’s report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Earlier Britain’s health minister said the novel coronavirus was accelerating across the country, with hospital admissions doubling every eight days, but refused to say if another national lockdown would be imposed next month.

“There is evidence of higher infection rates in the North West and London,” the ONS said on Friday.

It estimated that 1 in 900 people in England had COVID-19 during the week to Sept. 10, compared with 1 in 1,400 in the previous week.

The ONS said there was “clear evidence” of an increase in young people contracting COVID-19.

On Thursday, Britain recorded 21 deaths from the disease, taking the total under the government’s accounting method to 41,705.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Guy Faulconbridge