The coronavirus pandemic has reached a “critical stage” in England with 96,000 new infections in a single day and infections doubling every nine days, according to the Imperial College London (ICL) on Thursday.

ICL said current restrictions were not working and argued that harsher measures were needed on a national scale “sooner rather than later”.

Professor Paul Elliott, one of the lead researchers of the study, said: “We are in a critical period of the second wave of the epidemic.

“We are seeing an increasing rate in the virus in all regions. Whatever is happening — be it behaviour (of the public) or implementation of current policy — it has not been sufficient to turn down that rate of increase.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that 16 more areas in England will move into Tier 2 restrictions, the second highest level, beginning Saturday.

They include parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands. According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, it means more than 32 million people will be under Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions in England.

The UK announced 23,065 more coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 965,340. There were 280 additional deaths, bringing that total to 45,955.

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