That puts the country 14th out of more than 200 states in a global list of Covid infection rates – well above the likes of the US, Canada and the whole of western Europe, as well as other former global “hotspots” such as India and Brazil.
A total of 191,771 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week to 22 September, a rise of 18 per cent on the week before, it was revealed on Thursday.
According to government data released on Wednesday, the UK recorded more than 36,700 new Covid-19 infections and more than 150 more coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period.
That is about 1,300 more than the 35,420 new cases announced the previous day. Globally, Tuesday’s figure was only exceeded by the US which recorded 84,348 new cases – and was far greater than the numbers posted by Brazil (14,423 new cases), Germany (11,780), France (5,859) and Italy (2,962).
In Italy, experts this week said the use of vaccine passports had slowed the spread of coronavirus, even though the country has fully vaccinated a smaller proportion of adults – 72 per cent – than the UK (82 per cent).
The UK government U-turned on vaccine passports earlier in September, deciding not to press ahead with them. However health secretary Sajid Javid has said they might be reconsidered if cases surge.
Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist at the University of Milan, said: “It’s been a prudent choice that has paid off for Italy, and now we have fewer cases than the UK, which may suffer the consequences this winter.
“The pass was introduced to encourage vaccinations, but also helps stop the spread of contagion.”
According to the New York Times – which collates figures from Johns Hopkins University – only 13 countries were on Friday reporting higher seven-day average daily cases than the UK.
They were: Serbia (101), Bermuda (99), Mongolia (74), Montenegro (72), Grenada (71), Barbados (65), Suriname (61), Antigua and Barbuda (61), Anguilla (57), Cuba (57), Dominica (56), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (56), and Lithuania (54).
The three countries which have seen the most coronavirus case all have infection rates well below the UK’s.
The United States, which has recorded 43 million cases and a world-highest 695,000 Covid-related deaths, recorded an average daily infection rate of 34 per 100,000 population on Friday.
India, which has recorded 33.7m cases and 448,000 deaths, has a rate of just two. Third in the global list is Brazil, which has a case rate of eight.
Major nations across Europe are also seeing infection rates far lower than Britain’s. Germany’s, for example, stood at 10 on Friday. Other European nations with far lower infections rates include Sweden (6), Spain (5) and Italy (5).
While Britain continues to have one of the highest infection rates in the world, the country’s Covid death rate compares better against other fully developed nations.
The daily average fatalities was around 122 on Friday, or 0.18 deaths per 100,000 people. In the US, the currently rate is more than three times higher at 0.6 deaths per 100,000 population.
But it is lower across most of western Europe, including Ireland (0.12), Austria (0.11) and Spain (0.07). According to the data, Bermuda has the world’s highest Covid death rate with an average of just over six fatalities per 100,000.
Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at Open University, said it was clear that Britain’s Covid infection rate was well above most other comparable industrialised nations.
“I think there’s a feeling out there that the the level of infection out is now very low. You don’t often get people pointing out that we’re way above all these other countries.
“People often don’t realise that’s the case,” he said.
One of the reasons that has been suggested for Britain’s relatively high rate of cases is that while the UK has managed to vaccinate the vast majority of older people, other countries have been more successful at encouraging take up among younger age groups.