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One in 15 people in England had Covid last week, ONS data shows | Coronavirus

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One in 15 people in England had Covid last week, rising to one in 10 in London, official figures have revealed.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, an estimated 3,270,800 people in England, or about 6% of the population on average, had Covid in the week ending 31 December. The week before the figure was about one in 25, or 4% of the population on average.

Infection levels also rose in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the most recent week, with the latest estimates suggesting that about one in 20 in the former two countries had Covid in the week ending 31 December, and about one in 25 for the latter. In the week before the figure was about one in 40 for all three countries.

For all countries in the UK, Omicron is now the dominant coronavirus variant.

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The results reveal infection levels in England differ by age and region although they have risen across the board: levels were highest in those aged from school year 12 to 24 years old, at about one in 10 people in this age group.

However, levels were almost as high in other age groups including those aged two to school year 6 and those aged 25 to 34 where about one in 15 were estimated to have had Covid in the most recent week. By contrast the figure was about one in 45 for those aged 70 and over.

In terms of regions in England, London had the highest infection levels, with about one in 10 estimated to have had Covid in the most recent week. However the team note there are hints the situation may be shifting.

“In the last few days of 2021, the trend in the percentage testing positive was uncertain for those in London who are secondary school ages and those aged 25 to 49 years, which may mean that infections are no longer increasing among these ages in London, but it is currently too early to suggest if this is a continuing change in trend,” the team write.

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The lowest levels of infection were found in the south-west, where one in 30 are estimated to have had Covid in the week ending 31 December.

“We continue to see infections across the UK increase, with Omicron now the dominant variant across all four nations,” said Sarah Crofts, the head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey.

“There are early signs of a potential slowing of infections in London in the days before New Year’s Eve. However, it is too early to suggest this is a change in trend overall.”

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