Covid intensive care ward reopens at Royal London Hospital as cases rise

A paramedic walks past a line of ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital in London

The Royal London Hospital is reopening its Covid intensive care ward after a rise in the number of cases.

The East London hospital is part of Barts Health NHS Trust which is treating 19 Covid patients in intensive care, compared to seven at the end of last month.

"We have plans in place to care for increased numbers of patients with Covid-19 in the coming weeks," a spokesperson for Barts said.

The reopening comes just days before nearly all lockdown rules in England come to an end.

A total of 194,005 people tested positive for Covid across England at least once in the week to July 7, up 43% on the previous week.

The sharp jump in positive cases reflects the impact of the third wave of coronavirus that is continuing to spread across the country.

More than half a million alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the most recent week, telling them they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

530,126 alerts – 520,194 in England and 9,932 in Wales – were sent in the seven days to July 7.