A total of 636,303 infections have been recorded over the past seven days, down 2.2 per cent on the previous week-long period.
Thursday’s daily cases figure is five per cent down on the 102,292 infections reported the previous day, and 10 per cent less than the 107,363 cases registered on the same day last week.
However official data also suggests the UK’s infection rate is now inching higher.
After reaching a peak of just over 2,000 cases per 100,000 on January 4, it fell sharply over the following days to 922.6 in the seven days up to January 17.
But since then it has risen slightly, standing at 949.2 cases per 100,000 in the seven days up to January 22.
In London, another 11,694 cases were reported on Thursday - bringing the capital’s total confirmed infections to 2,218,248, although the real figure is far higher.
It comes as the King’s College/ZOE Covid study showed daily case levels in London have now risen above 300 people per 100,000 driven by Omicron and the new BA.2 sub-strain.
Separate data from the UK Health Security Agency shows infection rates are now highest in the 5-9 age group, having more than doubled from about 1,000 per 100,000 to over 2,000 per 100,000 in just a few days.
This week's #COVID19 surveillance report shows case rates are highest in those aged 5 to 9 years old and lowest in those aged 70-79.
For more information, read the full report: https://t.co/FCcjHmBd7v pic.twitter.com/3wHROU6DPN
— UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) January 27, 2022
The second worst-hit age group is 10-19-year-olds. Cases are lowest among the 70 to 79 age group.
Scientists at King’s found that Covid infections jumped by a tenth across the UK last week, fuelled by a sharp rise in cases among children following the reopening of schools.
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist and lead scientist for the study, said: “The bounce back in case numbers just as we lift restrictions has come sooner than many expected.
“But it’s not surprising given that, throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen the end of school holidays repeatedly usher in a rapid rise in cases among children, which then cross over into parents and school staff.
“Another emerging factor is that a new subtype of Omicron is taking over called BA.2, which is likely more infectious. One in 20 new cases had this variant last week, and as it’s doubling every few days this should predominate within a month.
“The ZOE data has also seen more confirmed reinfections in recent weeks with around 7 per cent of new symptomatic cases having previously tested positive, suggesting a natural infection with Delta may not offer much protection.”
On fatalities, the latest figures remain relatively flat with 1,839 deaths recorded in the last seven days, 21 fewer that the previous seven day period.
There is more positive news on the number of people with Covid in hospital, which continues to steadily fall.
On Wednesday, there were 16,510 such patients across the UK, 94 fewer than the previous day and 11 per cent down on the 18,563 people with the disease in hospital on Wednesday, January 19.
The latest figures came as Plan B measures were eased further with face masks no longer required in most public settings.
Meanwhile, new data shows that the booster vaccine offers “high levels of protection” against the Omicron variant and significantly reduces the risk of death.
Protection against death with Omicron stands at around 60 per cent for those aged 50 and over about six months after a second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) show.
That increases to around 95 per cent two weeks after receiving a third booster dose.
The booster offers high levels of protection against hospitalisation, the figures also show, with the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab against admission standing at around 90 per cent, dropping to about 75 per cent after 10-14 weeks.
The Moderna booster’s effectiveness against hospitalisation is 90-95 per cent up to nine weeks after vaccination.
People have again been urged to get their booster jab on the back of the findings.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA, said: “The evidence is clear - the vaccine helps to protect us all against the effects of Covid-19 and the booster is offering high levels of protection from hospitalisation and death in the most vulnerable members of our society.
“The pandemic is not over yet and the vaccine is the best way to increase your protection against the serious consequences of this virus. Please book your appointment for your first, second or third vaccine without delay.”
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup added: “A booster vaccine is absolutely crucial to topping up your immunity against the Omicron variant.”