The UK has recorded nearly 23,000 new coronavirus cases, as it emerged that thousands of cases were not included in daily reports due to a “technical issue” with the Government’s Covid-19 dashboard.
The total number of lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK has now passed 500,000 after 22,961 new cases were confirmed on Sunday.
Public Health England said an investigation into the technical issue found that 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not included in the daily case reports.
It said Sunday’s data is “therefore artificially high for England and the UK”.
The Government also said a further 33 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday. This brings the UK total to 42,350.
Michael Brodie, the interim chief executive at Public Health England, said: “A technical issue was identified overnight on Friday, October 2 in the data load process that transfers Covid-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards.
“After rapid investigation, we have identified that 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not included in the reported daily Covid-19 cases. The majority of these cases occurred in most recent days.
“Every one of these cases received their Covid-19 test result as normal and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate.
“NHS Test and Trace and PHE have worked to quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system and I would like to thank contact tracing and health protection colleagues for their additional efforts over the weekend.
“We fully understand the concern this may cause and further robust measures have been put in place as a result.”
The number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK now stands at 502,978.
Labour said the failure to record almost 16,000 positive Covid-19 cases was “shambolic”.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “This is shambolic and people across the country will be understandably alarmed.
“Matt Hancock should come to the House of Commons on Monday to explain what on earth has happened, what impact it has had on our ability to contain this virus and what he plans to do to fix test and trace.”
Test and Trace and Public Health England joint medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, said the issue had not prevented people receiving their test result or affected decision-making in local areas.
She said: “Our analysis now shows that this issue affected a total of 15,841 cases from the period between September 25 and October 2, with the majority occurring in recent days.
“This means the total number of positive cases over this period was higher than previously reported.
“Of these, over 75 per cent (11,968) relate to cases that should have been reported between September 30 and October 2.
“This issue did not affect people receiving their Covid-19 test results and all people who tested positive have received their Covid-19 test result in the normal way.
“It also does not impact the basis on which decisions about local action were taken last week.
“All outstanding cases were immediately transferred to the contact tracing system by 1am on October 3 and a thorough public health risk assessment was undertaken to ensure outstanding cases were prioritised for contact tracing effectively.
“The advice remains the same. If you have tested positive you must self-isolate immediately for at least 10 days from when your symptoms began and we urge everyone who is contacted by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of their recent contacts.”