THERE has been an almost 100 per cent increase in Covid cases in Basingstoke and Deane over the last week, figures show.

Statistics published by the government show that 148 new people in the borough had a confirmed positive test result reported yesterday.

For the seven days up to July 16, 823 people in Basingstoke and Deane had a positive test result for Covid, which was an increase of 99.8 per cent to the previous seven days.

A total of 33 schools in the borough have reported a positive a case of Covid in the past 10 days, resulting in children being forced to stay at home and isolate, with many now set to miss their last week of term.

It has been predicted that up to 1.6 million people in England have been told to isolate in a single week as the number of new UK Covid cases climbed to 48,553 on Thursday – the highest since mid-January.

Hospital admissions have also been rising locally, with 26 people admitted to a Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) hospital between July 5 and July 11, representing an increase of 85.7 per cent on the previous seven days.

Two of those patients were on a ventilator to help them breathe on July 13.

With the upward rise in cases showing no signs of abating, there are fears of a summer of chaos as businesses and households are forced into isolation.

The Gazette understands that The Angel, a Wetherspoons pub in Festival Place, has been impacted by staff shortages because of Covid, with employees having to stay at home and isolate after being in contact with someone with the virus.

The outside seating area at the pub has been closed as a result.

Wetherspoons has been asked for a comment.

Ministers have warned that cases could rise to 100,000 over the summer, following the easing of Covid restrictions on Monday.

However, they said the success of the vaccine rollout means restrictions should not need to be imposed.

Isolation rules will not, however, be relaxed until August 16 when those who have received two vaccinations will no longer need to isolate if they are exposed to a confirmed Covid case.