Covid-19 infections in the UK have jumped by nearly 800,000 in a week, with some parts of the country nearing the record levels seen during the spring.
Hospital numbers are also continuing to increase, driven by the spread of the latest coronavirus subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.
A total of 3.5 million people in private households are estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, up 29% from 2.7 million the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April, but is still below the record of 4.9 million seen at the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave at the end of March.
In London, around one in 19 people, or 5.3%, of the capital’s population was estimated to have Covid in the week ending July 6, higher than many other English reigons.
The East of England had the highest reigonal positivity rate at 5.86%.
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) July 15, 2022
Sarah Crofts, ONS head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 infection survey, said: “Infections are showing no signs of decreasing, with rates approaching levels last seen in March at the peak of the BA.2 wave.
“Rates have continued to increase across the UK and among all age groups. We will continue to closely monitor the data.”
The virus remains most prevalent in Scotland, where 334,000 people were estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 7, or around one in 16.
This is up from 312,800, or one in 17, and is the highest estimate for Scotland since the start of April.
In England, 2.9 million people were likely to have had Covid-19 last week, the equivalent of around one in 19.
This is up from 2.2 million, or one in 25, the previous week.
Wales has seen infections jump to 183,500, or one in 17 people, up from 149,700, or one in 20.
In Northern Ireland, infections have increased to an estimated 107,600 people, or one in 17 – the highest level since the beginning of April, and up from 98,400, or one in 19.