Covid cases rise in England, Wales and Scotland as travel rules are relaxed

ITV News correspondent Hannah Miller reports on the rising number of Covid cases across the country

Covid-19 infections have continued to increase in England, Wales and Scotland, though the trend is “uncertain” in Northern Ireland, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In England, it is estimated that roughly one in 20 people in private households have had the virus in the week to March 12, or 2.7 million people – up from one in 25, or 2.1 million people, in the week to March 5.

In Wales, the estimate is up from 97,900 people, or one in 30, to 125,400 people, or one in 25.

Scotland has seen infection levels rise for seven weeks in a row and they have now reached a new record high, with 376,300 people estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, or one in 14. This is up from 299,900 people, or one in 18, the previous week.

The ONS described the trend in Northern Ireland as “uncertain”, with 130,600 people likely to have had Covid-19 last week, or around one in 14 people: down slightly from 143,800 people, or one in 13.

The news comes on the day that all Covid travel restrictions were lifted for people travelling into the UK.

A Covid testing centre Credit: PA

The rules will allow unvaccinated people to travel to the UK, only needed to provide a negative Covid test pre-travel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said lifting the requirements would allow “greater freedom in time for Easter” to go abroad.

Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “These latest figures show further increases in infections across most of the UK with high levels of infection everywhere, and in Scotland the highest our survey has seen.

“These increases are largely driven by the marked rise of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant. It’s notable also that infections have risen in all age groups, with the over 70s reaching their highest estimate since our survey began."