SOUTH Somerset has seen a 14.7 per cent rise in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the latest seven-day period.

A total of 2,127 people in the district received a confirmed positive Covid-19 test result between Tuesday, January 4, and Monday, January 10.

In the previous seven-day period (December 28 to January 3), 1,855 people had a confirmed positive test result in the district.

That figure marked a 76.8 per cent rise in cases compared to the seven-day period before that (December 21 to December 27).

Yesterday, 250 people had a confirmed positive test result in the district.

One person died within 28 days of a positive Covid test between January 4 and January 10 in South Somerset.

UK Covid latest

According to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard, 142,224 people tested positive for Covid yesterday across the UK.

Just over 1.2 million people tested positive for Covid in the UK between January 4 and January 10 – an increase of one per cent from the previous seven-day period.

A total of 77 deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid test yesterday.

1,330 deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid test between January 4 and January 10.

Change to testing rules

From today, asymptomatic people who test positive for Covid will no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm their result.

The move was announced by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last week to free up capacity in laboratories for PCR tests from people who have Covid symptoms.

The change means people who test positive on a lateral flow device (LFD) will be required to self-isolate immediately without PCR confirmation.

The UKHSA said this is a temporary measure while Covid rates remain high across the UK.

UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “This is a tried and tested approach.

“With Covid cases high, we can confidently say lateral flow tests can be used to indicate Covid-19 without the need for PCR confirmation.

“If you test positive on an LFD, you should self-isolate immediately and register your result to allow contact tracing to take place."

Exemptions to the new rules apply to people who want to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment, people who are taking lateral flow tests as part of research, and those who have a positive day two test result after arriving in England.

Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and arrange to take a PCR test on the Government’s website or by phoning 119.

Police contact Cabinet Office over No 10 lockdown drinks claims

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is liaising with the Cabinet Office over claims the prime minister’s aide organised a “bring your own booze” gathering at Downing Street during the first lockdown in May 2020.

Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, sent an email to more than 100 Downing Street employees in which he said they should “make the most of the lovely weather” while coronavirus restrictions banned groups from meeting socially outdoors at the time.

It has been alleged in several reports the prime minister and his wife, Carrie Johnson, attended the event.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on May 20 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office.”

This morning, health minister Edward Argar told the BBC: “I can entirely understand why people who’ve lost loved ones, or people who’ve just had their lives hugely disrupted by these restrictions, are angry and upset by these allegations.”

He said “appropriate disciplinary action” should be taken if rules were broken, but said the details are a matter for the investigation into Whitehall parties being carried out by senior official Sue Gray.

Read more: Police are in contact with officials after alleged No 10 garden party

Read more: Almost 2,200 positive Covid tests in a week in South Somerset