Nearly 23,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported for the UK as officials admitted that thousands of positive tests dating back more than a week had been not been counted due to an IT error.
Health officials said the latest figures – a new daily record – were “artificially high” as a result of the error in its Covid data dashboard and admitted that contact tracing had been delayed.
However they insisted that those affected by the glitch between 25 September and 2 October had all received their results and that lockdown decisions in local areas had not been affected.
Labour criticised the situation as “shambolic” and shadow health secretary called on Matt Hancock to come to the House of Commons to face questions.
It came hours after Boris Johnson told the BBC Andrew Marr show that there was “a failure in the counting system which has now been rectified”.
Meanwhile junior health minister Lord Bethell was criticised for making a “tasteless and offensive” claim that the UK will be “extremely proud” of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it will be like the Olympics,” he told a Conservative party conference event, “that’s when it’s all over and we look back and reflect, we will actually be extremely proud of ourselves.”
The UK has now passed the total of 500,000 confirmed cases as a result of the recent surge in infections across the country.