England test and trace scheme reports 24% rise in positive COVID cases

A woman walks through Primrose Hill park amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - There has been a 24% increase in people testing positive for the coronavirus in the week to Dec. 30, England’s test and trace scheme said on Thursday, reflecting a spike in cases that has prompted a new national lockdown.

The scheme contacted 92.3% of the 493,573 people identified as close contacts of positive cases, a similar proportion to the week before.

“The number of close contacts identified has notably increased across the last 3 weeks and is more than double the number identified at the end of November,” the health ministry said in its weekly update.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden