Covid-19 levels have risen in all four nations of the UK, with the increase likely caused by infections compatible with the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. A total of 1.4 million people in private households are estimated to have had the virus last week, up 43% from 989,800 the previous week.
This is the highest estimate for total infections since the start of May. However it is still well below the record high of 4.9 million which was reached at the end of March.
Meanwhile figures released on Thursday showed the number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks of the virus) had risen by almost 100 in a week going from 78 to 170 in week 23 (June 6-12). The hospital admission rate for week 23 was 6.10 per 100,000 population, an increase from 4.65 in the previous week.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over. It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
“As we enter summer, it’s still important to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus. If you’re not yet up to date with your jabs please come forward now – it’s not too late to get protected.
“Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.”
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