England Covid cases rise again to one in 17, figures show

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports from a care home in Woking, where Covid is far from a thing of the past

An estimated 3.1 million people in England had coronavirus in the week to July 13, the equivalent of around one in 17, new figures show.

This is up from 2.9 million, or one in 19, a week earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

“Infections have, overall, continued to increase in England, reaching similar levels to those seen in April during the Omicron BA.2 wave," Kara Steel, Senior Statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said.

In the UK as a whole, the number of people testing positive climbed to an estimated 3.8 million in the week to July 13, up 7% from 3.5 million in the previous seven days.

It is the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April, but is still below the record of 4.9 million reached at the end of March.

The ONS now provides estimated figures for the rate of Covid infections in the UK, as many people do not report positive test results to the NHS as was the case previously.

The rates of infection were highest in those aged between 16 and 24, and 50-69, and lowest in children aged 6 to 11.

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The virus is most prevalent in Scotland, where 340,900 people were estimated to have had the virus in the week to July 14, or around one in 15.

Meanwhile, the ONS said trends were uncertain in both Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Wales, infections have levelled off at 183,200, or one in 17 people, broadly unchanged on 183,500 in the previous week, which was also one in 17.

In Northern Ireland, infections have dropped to an estimated 88,400 people, or one in 20, down from 107,600, or one in 17.

The majority of infections are caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, which accounted for 89.2% of infections in the week ending July 3.