Coronavirus infections are continuing to rise across the country, with one in 95 people in England infected, according to new figures.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that more than half a million people in private households in England are likely to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 10.
The estimate for the number testing positive – 577,700 – is the equivalent of around one in 95 people, up from one in 160 people in the previous week, and the highest number since the week to February 6.
It is more than five times the figure a month ago. In the week to June 12, the estimate was 105,000 people.
Data shows that at the same point last year, in the week to July 12, one in 2,300 people were estimated to have Covid-19.
In the latest data, all areas of England have seen a rise, with those in the North East the most likely of any region to test positive for coronavirus, at around one in 40 people.
North-west England has the second highest estimate at around one in 55, while south-east England has the lowest estimate at around one in 220.
Rates of infection have increased in all age groups but around one in 35 people from school year 12 (16 and 17-year-olds) to age 24 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 10 – the highest rate of any age group.
Meanwhile, in Scotland around one in 90 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 10 – up from one in 100 in the previous week, and the highest level since the ONS infection survey began in Scotland at the end of October 2020.
For Wales, the ONS describes the trend as “uncertain” with an estimate of one in 360 people testing positive – broadly unchanged from one in 340 in the previous week and close to levels last seen at the beginning of March.
In Northern Ireland, the estimate is one in 290 people, broadly unchanged from one in 300 in the previous week.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute at from the University of Oxford, said it was a “reasonable assumption” that cases will continue to grow and will accelerate after Monday’s further easing of restrictions in England.
He added: “We are doubling cases every 12 to 18 days. Vaccination will act as a drag on the rate of spread thankfully.
“The vaccine rollout across US, EU, UK, China and other developed countries is encouraging. Tragically, Delta will cause a catastrophe in less developed countries where vaccination coverage is low.
“New cases of Delta will lead to long Covid, hospital admissions and deaths.
“The ratios between these have been massively changed by the safe and effective vaccines we are administering, but the link is not eliminated.”