The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Health reported more than 17,200 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours on Monday, the third worst figure in the entire pandemic, in the midst of debate over the extent of restrictions imposed in certain areas to contain outbreaks.

Specifically, British authorities have reported 17,234 new positive cases, bringing to 634,920 the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK. At least 43,018 people have lost their lives due to this disease, 143 more than the official balance reported on Sunday, while 4,367 patients are hospitalized.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Monday described as “alarming” the increase in infections and established different levels of restrictions depending on whether there is a medium, high or very high risk. The Liverpool metropolitan area is the only area in England situated at the worst of these levels and therefore bars have been closed and meetings banned.

Local leaders such as the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burham, have questioned the system, which Downing Street believes is necessary to “save lives”. However, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has deemed it “inevitable” that the capital will suffer further restrictions in the short term and the Essex County authorities have directly called for the area to be classified as “very high” risk.

The debate has reached the House of Commons, where Health Minister Matt Hancock has rejected the possibility of even considering group immunity for COVID-19, since in the case of infectious diseases such as measles, malaria or flu this has never been reached and there is “increasing evidence of reinfection” in the case of the new coronavirus.

“If we let the virus continue unchecked, the loss of life would simply be too great,” Hancock told the deputies.

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