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Covid-19 infections continue to rise in most parts of UK

·3-min read

Covid-19 infections are continuing to rise in most parts of the UK, though there are signs the rate of increase in England might have slowed, new figures suggest.

Around one in 65 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to July 24, up from one in 75 in the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the highest level since the week to January 30.

One in 65 is the equivalent of around 856,200 people, up from an estimated 741,700 people in the previous week.

HEALTH Coronavirus Infection
(PA Graphics)

It is the ninth week in a row that infection levels in England have increased – though there are “possible signs” the rate of increase may have slowed, the ONS said.

Infections are also estimated to have risen in Wales and Northern Ireland, though numbers have dropped in Scotland.

Around one in 160 people in Wales are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 24, up from one in 210 and the highest level since the week to February 12.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is around one in 65 people, up from one in 170 – like England, the highest level since the week to January 30.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates that around one in 110 people had Covid-19 in the week to July 24, down from one in 80 in the previous week.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

All figures are for people in private households, and do not include hospitals, care homes and other settings.

The number of Covid-19 infections in the UK, which is estimated every week by the ONS, is not the same as the number of new cases of coronavirus, which are reported every day by the Government.

The number of infections provides a snapshot of the prevalence of Covid-19 within the entire community population of the UK, and estimates the percentage of people who are likely to test positive for the virus at any one point in time – regardless of when they caught the virus, how long they have had it, and whether they have symptoms or not.

It is based on a sample of swab tests collected from households across the UK.

By contrast, the number of new cases of Covid-19 reported each day by the Government includes only those people who have actually tested positive for the virus, and is therefore affected by how many people are coming forward for tests, or who are taking a test because they know they have coronavirus symptoms.

The average number of new cases of Covid-19 in the UK has fallen over the past week, which might suggest the third wave of coronavirus has peaked.

But the latest ONS figures, suggesting infections are continuing to rise in most parts of the UK, mean it is too soon to say that the peak has definitely passed.

There is also a slight lag in the ONS data, with estimates available only up to the week ending July 24.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Any change in the long-term trend for infections could become clearer in future weeks.

At a regional level, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in all parts of England, apart from eastern England and south-west England where the trend is uncertain, the ONS said.

North-east England had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to July 24: around one in 30.

North-west England had the second highest estimate: around one in 45.

Eastern England and south-west England had the lowest estimates: around one in 100.

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