GovWire

Detailed guide: Coronavirus cases in the UK: daily updated statistics

Department Of Health

August 1
13:08 2020

Dashboard of coronavirus cases and deaths

The coronavirus dashboard is updated daily. It shows the number of cases and deaths in the UK, broken down by region and local authority area.

You can download the data in csv format.

Number of coronavirus deaths and cases

Deaths

On 17 July, the Secretary of State asked Public Health England (PHE) to urgently review the way daily death statistics are currently reported. Were pausing the publication of the daily figure while this review takes place.

Daily Cumulative
Deaths in all settings not available not available

Coronavirus deaths and cases give a sense of the spread of the epidemic. Deaths are counted where a lab-confirmed positive coronavirus test result is reported in any setting. This means that not all deaths reported here are caused by coronavirus. Further information is available in the Notes on deaths figures section.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes further statistics of deaths with breakdowns. This covers death registrations where coronavirus was mentioned, so will include deaths where a person did not have a lab-confirmed positive result.

Positive cases

As of 9am on 1 August, 303,952 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK (pillar 1 and 2, see descriptions below).

Daily Cumulative
Positive cases (pillars 1 and 2) 771 303,952

Cases are reported when lab tests are completed and confirmed positive. There are more cases in the UK than are confirmed, for example where people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not get tested.

Number of tests

Definition of testing pillars

  • pillar 1: swab (antigen) testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need and health and care workers
  • pillar 2: swab (antigen) testing for the wider population
  • pillar 3: serology testing to show if people have antibodies from having had coronavirus
  • pillar 4: blood and swab testing for national surveillance supported by PHE, ONS, and research, academic, and scientific partners to learn more about the prevalence and spread of the virus and for other testing research purposes, such as the accuracy and ease of use of home testing

Overall volume of tests

As of 9am on 1 August, there have been 16,280,223 tests (either processed or sent out) across all 4 pillars in the UK. Of these, 11,912,950 tests were processed in total.

Daily Cumulative
All tests made available (pillars 1 to 4) 258,796 16,280,223
All tests processed (pillars 1 to 4) 190,220 11,912,950

The governments testing strategy sets out a challenge to massively increase testing capacity over a range of areas and for a range of purposes. The total number of tests has been used as a summary measure of the volume of tests that have been made available (all tests made available). Within this summary measure, different tests are counted at different points.

Tests that remain within the control of the central programme are counted when they are processed in a lab (tests processed). Any tests that go outside the control of the central programme are counted when they leave the programme (tests sent out). These include tests that are mailed out to people at home and tests that are sent out through satellite sites.

All tests processed counts tests that have remained within the control of the programme (and were counted at the time of when it was processed in labs) and those that have been sent out and subsequently returned to be processed in a lab. This is a useful additional measure as it shows how many tests we have received results for. The publication of this measure is also in line with the UK Statistics Authority recommendations.

People tested figures are published as part of the weekly Test and Trace publication. Many people are retested multiple times for valid reasons, such as regular testing of health and care workers over several months.

The people tested measure was initially used to avoid counting one person tested several times in a short space of time. It no longer usefully reflects the volume of tests carried out as, for example, a healthcare worker receiving their second, third or fourth test since the start of the pandemic would not be counted as they have been tested once before. Therefore, the people tested figure will be published on a weekly basis within the NHS Test and Trace statistics rather than daily.

Testing capacity

In early May, the government set out another challenge to increase testing capacity to 200,000 tests per day by the end of May. This target was met on 29 May and continues to be met daily.

Overall lab capacity is important to ensure the programme is able to meet potential demand and deliver large numbers of tests.

At 9am on 26 July, testing capacity was 338,585 in the UK.

Pillar 1 Pillar 2 Pillar 3 Pillar 4 Total
Lab capacity 80,985 127,500 120,000 10,100 338,585

Coronavirus tests are processed in several separate labs. Projected lab capacity is an estimate of each labs constrained capacity each day based on the staff, chemical reagents and other resources it has available. These estimates are made locally by the labs themselves.

Further information on the methodology of how capacity is reported is available in the testing methodology.

Antigen tests (pillars 1 and 2) (UK)

These are swab tests targeted at those who are sick and with symptoms. They look for the presence of the virus itself.

All tests in pillar 1 are counted when they are processed by a lab. Tests in pillar 2 are administered in 2 different ways:

  • counted when they are sent out
  • counted when they are processed by a lab

Not all tests sent out will be returned to the labs.

Daily Cumulative
Pillar 1 tests processed 51,120 4,371,471
Pillar 2 tests processed 79,136 3,884,368
Pillar 2 tests sent out 97,373 5,367,665

Tests that are counted at the time of dispatch are typically returned to the labs a few days later. Therefore, the daily figures of tests processed are not directly comparable to tests dispatched for that day.

Positive results are often used as an indicator of the progress of the pandemic. Positive test results are an international standard and are reported to the World Health Organization. However, it is important to look at a wider range of indicators, as the proportion

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