The government has no plans to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions in England despite rising cases, Downing Street has said.

It comes as the number of new daily coronavirus cases in the UK reached its highest level since mid-July.

Downing Street said an increase in coronavirus cases had been expected over the winter and the government would keep a “close watch” on the situation.

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But plans to reintroduce mandatory face coverings in certain settings, a return to home working and the use of vaccine passports - as outlined in the government's winter strategy under 'Plan B' - are not being considered currently.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said: “There is absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B currently.

“We retain that capability if required if we believe the NHS is coming under unsustainable pressure.

“We are monitoring cases, as you know cases have increased recently.

“However, because of the protection from vaccines, we have substantially reduced that link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths which means numbers of hospitalisations – and indeed deaths – while they have increased slightly are not rising at the same rate.”

Government data up to Monday shows there have been a further 49,156 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.

This is the highest number of daily reported cases since July 17.

Another 45 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 138,629.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Friday showed coronavirus infection levels in England are getting close to the peak seen at the height of the second wave and are mostly being driven by rates among schoolchildren.

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The No 10 spokesperson said: “We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics.

“We always knew the coming months would be challenging. What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now.

“The vaccination programme will continue to be our first line of defence, along with new treatments, testing and public health advice. But we will obviously keep a close watch on cases."

Meanwhile, a scientist advising the government warned of waning levels of immunity from vaccination and said there is still “huge potential” for the NHS to come under extreme pressure this winter.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of Sage, told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “I think it’s concerning that we’ve got very high rates of infection and higher rates of hospitalisation and mortality than many of our European counterparts.

“Whenever we approach a winter period we expect respiratory virus infections to increase, so I think it’s very important that we go into that with as high a level of population immunity, especially in elderly and clinically vulnerable groups, as possible.”

He said waning immunity is “probably part of” the reason infections are currently high, adding there is “some evidence” protection against infection is beginning to wear off and “probably some evidence” protection against severe disease is waning to a lesser extent.

Prof Hayward added: “We shouldn’t be complacent because there is still huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure and for there to be a lot of unnecessary deaths.

“So we need to get the vaccination rates up and we need to be prepared potentially to think about other measures if things do get out of control.”

There are also concerns that vaccine uptake among young teenagers is not high enough, with some local authority areas having jabbed as little as five per cent of children aged between 12 and 15.

Headteachers’ unions are calling for children to be allowed to use walk-in vaccination centres in England after new figures revealed the scale of the low take-up.

Only 15 local authorities in England have managed to give a first jab to at least a quarter of 12- to 15-year-olds, data shows.

The picture is very different in Scotland, where young people can also receive doses of the jab in drop-in vaccination centres, as the take-up is already over 50 per cent in half of local authority areas.

School leaders’ unions are concerned that 12 to 15-year-olds in England are missing out on getting the Covid-19 vaccination in school due to a high level of cases amongst the cohort, as well as logistical problems with vaccination teams having insufficient staff to deal with students needing jabs.

Three million pupils aged between 12 and 15 across the UK are eligible to receive a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as part of a rollout that began a month ago.

In England, jabs are being carried out in schools by nurses and immunisation teams.

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