Coronavirus infection levels have hit an all-time high in England with one in 13 thought to have had Covid in the most recent week, data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.
The latest figures also reveal that the number of coronavirus infections across the UK rose by about 650,000 compared with the week before, with 4,908,900 people estimated to have had Covid in the most recent week.
According to the latest information from the ONS, based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, an estimated 7.6% of the population in England had Covid in the week ending 26 March, about 4,122,700 people.
The figure is the highest recorded by the survey since it began looking at the situation in April 2020, and surpasses the previous high at the start of 2022, when 1 in 15 people in England were estimated to have had Covid.
Further analysis revealed infection levels had risen across all regions of the country, but were highest in the south-west of England, where 9.4% of the population were estimated to have had Covid in the most recent week.
The data also suggests that while infection levels have plateaued among children and young adults, they continued to rise among those aged 25 years and over in the week ending 26 March. About 8% of people aged 35 to 49 and 6.6% of those aged 70 and over are thought to have had Covid in the most recent week – the latter a record high for the age group.
Infection levels remain high in Scotland and Northern Ireland – although the trend in the most recent week is uncertain for both – and have continued to rise in Wales. The latests ONS data suggests about one in 14 people in Wales and one in 12 people in Scotland had Covid in the most recent week. For Northern Ireland, the figure was one in 15.
Kara Steel, a senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said that rapid rise in infection levels was fuelled by the growth of the Omicron variant BA.2 across the UK.
“Infection levels remain high, with the highest levels recorded in our survey seen in England and Wales and notable increases among older age groups,” she said.