Covid-19 infections in the UK have jumped to their highest level since the summer, with nearly three million people likely to have had the virus at Christmas.
The figures come as the country is experiencing its worst flu season for a decade and ambulance handover delays at hospitals are at a record high.
A total of 2.97 million people in private households in the UK were likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to December 28, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is more than double the number at the start of the month and is the highest total since mid-July.
New data from our #COVID19 Infection Survey show in the latest week:
▪️ infections continued to increase in England and Scotland
▪️ infections increased in Wales and Northern Ireland
➡️ https://t.co/T2guzYSUrw pic.twitter.com/hMa5vyaFdc
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) January 6, 2023
Prevalence of the virus is slightly lower in Scotland, at one in 25 people.
Michelle Bowen, ONS head of health surveillance, said that infections have risen across the whole of the UK, with levels in Northern Ireland now at their highest since March 2022.
She added: “Across English regions, infections have increased in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands, the East of England, the South East and the South West.
“Cases have also increased in those aged two to school Year 6, and those aged 50 years and over.”