Positive coronavirus cases in England have seen an increase of 17 per cent since last week, according to the latest data from the Test and Trace system.
The figures come after tougher lockdown restrictions have been imposed in parts of Northern England, following a spike in infections.
More than 700 new cases
Data from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) shows that between 23 and 29 July, the latest data available, a total of 4,966 people tested positive for coronavirus.
This marks an increase of 713 more cases than the previous seven days, making it the third consecutive weekly rise.
Of the positive cases, only 11 were detected in hospital and the rest were reported in the community via home testing kits or drive through test centres.
The increase in infections comes despite the number of people being tested in England rising by just four per cent overall in the same period.
Health officials attributed the rise in cases due to increased testing in areas where coronavirus infection rates are highest, although it was acknowledged that there has been an overall rise in incidence of the virus.
Is the Test and Trace system effective enough?
The number of people who tested positive for coronavirus who were not reached by the NHS Test and Trace system had increased from 634 to 873 over just seven days.
DHSC figures also showed a decrease in the amount of close contacts of coronavirus sufferers who were successfully reached after being identified.
In a report, the DHSC said: “The overall percentage of contacts reached has been declining since test and trace began, primarily due to the reduction in contacts relating to local outbreaks (complex cases), as these are managed by local health protection teams and have a higher success rate than those dealt with by contact tracers.
Since the NHS Test and Trace launched nine weeks ago, more than 47,700 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in England have had their case transferred to the system.
In the last week, 4,642 cases were transferred to Test and Trace, with 79 per cent of people being contacted by tracers - a decrease from 81.4 per cent from the week before.
More than 19,100 people who had come into close contact with a person who had tested positive for the virus had been identified, and of those, 72 per cent were reached and asked to self-isolate - a drop of 76 per cent from the previous week.
Figures showed that despite health protection teams being able to contact around 98 per cent of close contacts of positive cases, call centres are still struggling to reach people.
Only a mere 56 per cent of close contacts from cases handled online or by call centres were actually reached.