Covid infections rise 20% in England as new Omicron variants spread

Covid-19 infections continue to surge across the UK, with the number of people in England estimated to have the virus jumping 20 per cent to 1.3mn in the past week, according to the latest official survey.

The rapid spread of infections is driven by new Omicron subvariants and has raised the virus’s prevalence in the population to the highest level since April 2022, the weekly survey by the Office for National Statistics showed.

Scotland has been hit hardest by the latest Covid wave.

The data released on Friday, covering the week to June 18, show that an estimated 1.36mn — 2.5 per cent of the population — in England would test positive for Covid. That is an increase of 20 per cent on the previous week, which was itself up 43 per cent on the week before.

Kara Steel, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “Rates have continued to rise across the UK, with the largest increase seen in Scotland . . . These increases are largely driven by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.”

In Scotland 4.76 per cent of the population in Scotland had Covid-19 or about one in 20 people — up 40 per cent on the previous week.

“In England, infections increased across all age groups, with the lowest level of infection seen in school aged children,” said Steel.

The ONS study is based on testing a representative range of households across the UK. About 150,000 samples are analysed every month. The survey does not depend on test results submitted from the general population.

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