Covid: Estimated 1.4 million people in UK had coronavirus in week to December 16 - ONS

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener has the details of another record breaking day of reported Covid cases

An estimated 1.4 million people in the UK had Covid-19 in the week ending December 16 - the highest number since comparable figures began in autumn 2020.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus also remains the dominant strain across the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Data scientists estimate 1.2 million of Covid infections were in England - this is the highest number since the ONS began estimating infection levels for the country in May 2020.

It is also an equivalent to around one in 45 people in private households, up from one in 60 the previous week.

In Wales, it is estimated that 54,400 people had Covid in the weekend to December 16 - around one in 55 people, which is unchanged from the previous week and below the recent record high of one in 40.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is that 37,800 were infected - one in 50 people, also unchanged from the previous week and slightly below the record high of one in 40 in mid-August.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates 76,200 people had Covid in that week - one in 70 people, up from one in 80 the previous week and below September’s peak of one in 45.

The percentage of cases compatible with the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has also increased in all four UK countries, the ONS found.

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Sarah Crofts, head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “The percentage of cases compatible with the Omicron variant has clearly increased across the UK. This is most apparent in England where Omicron appears to have risen sharply, though with significant regional variations.

“We are monitoring the impact of Omicron very closely and will continue to do so over the holiday period.”

In England, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 increased in all age groups, except school years 7 to 11 and people aged 70 years and older, where the trend was uncertain.

New Covid rules in England mean fans now have to show their Covid Pass at sports stadiums. Credit: PA

Infection rates were highest for those aged two to school year 6, at 5.9%.

Rates are estimated to have increased in all regions of England except the north-east, south-west and West Midlands, where the trend is uncertain, the ONS said.

In London, around one in 30 people was likely to test positive in the week ending December 16 – the highest proportion for any region.

Yorkshire and the Humber had the lowest proportion, at around one in 65.