Covid cases continue to rise in Great Britain with record high in Scotland

Covid is surging and some wards are now full with patients, as Health Editor Emily Morgan reports

Covid cases have continued to rise across Great Britain, with the highest rates seen in Scotland, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey.

Scotland has seen infection levels rise for eight weeks in a row and they have now reached a new record high, with nearly half a million people (473,800) estimated to have had the virus last week, or around one in 11.

It comes as Covid hospitalisations in Scotland have also been at a record high, for five days in a row, with the latest figures rising by four to 2,326.

However, many of these people may be in hospital for an unrelated illness and have tested positive during their stay.

In England, around one in 16 people in private households are estimated to have had the virus in the week to March 19, or 3.5 million people – up from one in 20, or 2.7 million people, in the week to March 12.

In Wales, the estimate is up from 125,400 people, or one in 25, to 192,900 people, or one in 16.

The rise in infection levels is driven by the rise of the Omicron BA.2 variant, according to Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the infection survey.

In Northern Ireland, the percentage of people with Covid decreased, with around 1 in 17 people testing positive.

“Northern Ireland was a few weeks ahead of the rest of the UK in this rising variant where we now see a welcome decrease", Ms Crofts explained.