Covid: Number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England rises by 22%

Credit: PA

The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England has risen by 22%, reaching its highest level in six weeks.

A total of 17,162 people tested positive for coronavirus in the country at least once in the week to May 26 according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

This is a rise of more than one-fifth on the previous week and the highest number of people to test positive since the week to April 14.

The latest figures come as concerns continue to mount over a spike in Covid cases of the Delta (formerly Indian) variant and what impact that could have on the final ending of lockdown - June 21.

People without symptoms are also being urged to get tested Credit: Michael Bedigan/PA

Meanwhile the number of rapid Covid-19 tests carried out in England has fallen to its lowest level in six weeks.

All members of the public are eligible to take two of these quick lateral flow device (LFD) tests a week.

Just over 4.8 million rapid tests were carried out in England in the week to May 26, the latest figures show.

It is the fifth week in a row that the number has fallen.

It is down from a peak of just over 7.6 million LFD tests in the week to March 17, which coincided with the return of secondary students to school.

The rapid tests can be done at home and give results in 30 minutes or less without the need for processing in a laboratory.

They are different to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which are processed in a lab, and are used mainly for anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms and to confirm a positive rapid test result.

One million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were conducted in the week to May 26, the highest total for two months, and up 3% on the previous week.