There have been an estimated 84,000 new cases of swine flu in the last week, the government's chief medical officer has announced.
Describing the increase as "small", Sir Liam Donaldson said the figure was moderate in comparison to previous weeks, and added that there had been an overall decrease in the number of young people contracting the virus.
He said the new figure, up 6,000 from last week, could be explained by the national half-term break.
"This could be a half-term effect – we can't be completely sure – so, before starting to talk too much about the overall flattening off and even a slight reduction, we've got to wait a week or two to see what happens," he explained.
New statistics also revealed that the number of people in critical care because of the condition had risen, with 172 of the 848 currently in hospital with the virus being treated in intensive care.
The total number of swine flu-related deaths in the UK now stands at 154 – 105 in England, 31 in Scotland, 10 in Northern Ireland and eight in Wales.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
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"Swine/bird flu – the drugs strategy thinking is a totally ineffective strategy for 99.9% of the population. There will never be enough vaccine unless we wait at least 12 months after a vaccine has been created. The reason, there is not the manufacturing capacity to produce it quicker in the world-at-large and the distribution logistics make this a very slow process. Overall the drugs strategy, if ever the real killer virus emerges as in 1918, will be of no real use whatsoever to the vast majority of people as it will arrive too late. The Spanish flu which killed between 20 million and 100 million (equivalent today to between 68 million and 340 million people dying, taking in people numbers now and then, but where the death rate could most probably be far greater and nearer 1 billion deaths due to far more rapid transit than in 1918) did its worst in the first six months of its outbreak (and here remember that it takes six months to create a vaccine). Therefore time is just against the whole drugs strategy and governments as usual are deceiving us. It is common sense really unfortunately for all of us except the chosen few – Wall Street bankers et al. The only solution that will stop this dreaded killer, which is only a matter of time before it emerges, is to address the problem at source and never let it happen in the first place" – Dr David Hill, Huddersfield