COVID-19: Case rates among schoolchildren in England hit new record high, latest figures show

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Watch: COVID-19: Case rates among schoolchildren in England hit new record high, latest figures show

Coronavirus case rates among schoolchildren in England have reached a new record high, according to the latest government data.

Separately, data from the Department of Education (DfE) also revealed that pupils in England missed nearly 219 million days of in-person education in the spring term due to coronavirus.

Rates of COVID-19 are also increasing in all but one region in England.

A total of 1,366.8 cases per 100,000 people aged 10 to 19 were logged in the seven days to 17 October - up week-on-week from 1,134.9.

The rate for five to nine-year-olds is 719.2, a rise week-on-week from 585.0.

This is the highest weekly rate for both age groups since this data was first collected in October 2020, according to the UK Health Security Agency (HSA).

Case rates of the virus are continuing to surge in all age groups across England.

The lowest rate of COVID-19 is currently among people aged 80 and over, at 121.2, up from 115.6.

It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week that COVID cases could hit 100,000 a day.

However, he revealed today that 234,000 people booked a booster jab on Wednesday "to secure extra protection against COVID-19 ahead of winter".

He previously confirmed England will not yet move to the government's plan B for dealing with pressures on hospitals this winter.

The English region with the highest rate of coronavirus is currently the South West - with 667.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 17 October, up from 327.1.

London has the lowest rate of COVID at 253.0, up from 220.5.

The latest figures from HSA also showed that 81% of the UK as a whole has seen a week-on-week increase in rates and 19% have seen a fall.

Blaenau Gwent in Wales has the highest rate of coronavirus in the UK, with 825 new cases in the seven days to 17 October - a sharp rise from 374.2 in the seven days to 10 October.

The second-highest rate was in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, the latest figures showed, up from 148.2 to 1,141.0, with 1,324 new cases.

The five areas in the UK with the biggest week-on-week rises are:

  • Cheltenham (up from 148.2 to 1,141.0)

  • Stroud (176.2 to 1,080.2)

  • Tewkesbury (99.4 to 978.0)

  • Blaenau Gwent (374.2 to 1,178.2)

  • Bath & North East Somerset (306.1 to 1,031.8)

Meanwhile, government data has revealed that 57.5% of school sessions (half a day) were recorded as missed due to COVID-related circumstances in spring this year. Typically, around 5% of school is missed due to absence during the spring term.

This equates to almost 219 million school days, according to the Department for Education (DfE) data.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "The statistics of almost 219 million days of in-person learning being lost and over half of school sessions being missed are eye-watering and it is small wonder that the educations of so many young people were so seriously impacted."

Watch: COVID-19: 'Absolutely nothing to indicate' new lockdown is needed, says Boris Johnson - but 'all measures under constant review'

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He said the government needs to "take a hard look at these statistics" and make an investment in the futures of all the students directly impacted by the pandemic.

HSA data found that the rate of COVID-19 hospital admissions in England stood at 7.2 per 100,000 people in the week to 17 October, up from 6.3.

The West Midlands reported the highest number of hospital admissions for that week, at 10.1 per 100,000 people.

Hospital admission rates continue to be the highest for people aged 85 and over, at 42.2 per 100,000 - the highest for this age group since the week to 7 March.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday, Mr Javid cautioned that the coronavirus pandemic "is not over".

Daily figures released on Thursday have also shown that the UK has recorded another 52,009 new COVID cases and 115 virus-related deaths, marking the first time infections have been above 50,000 since 17 July.

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