Coronavirus infections rose for a fourth successive week in England, with one in 45 people testing positive in the seven days to December 9, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, up from one in 50 the previous week.
A winter wave of Covid-19 is also gathering pace in Scotland, where infections rose to one in 40 from one in 50 the previous week. Trends in Wales and Northern Ireland were uncertain, ONS said.
“Over half of English regions saw an increase, while it’s a mixed picture for different ages. Infections have increased among most adults under 70, while secondary school age children experienced a decrease in infections,” said Sarah Crofts, deputy director for Covid survey analysis.
Infections in England had reached a low point of one in 65 in mid-November, while the survey found that one in 30 were infected at the peak of the autumn wave in early October.
Meanwhile the number of patients seriously ill with Covid is surging. The UK Health Security Agency said England’s hospitalisation rate for Covid rose to 9.56 per 100,000 population from 6.61 in the previous week, the fifth-straight weekly increase.
Flu hospitalisations rose too, though not as fast as Covid, reaching 8.27 per 100,000 according to the UKHSA.
“We can all take actions to stop flu and other infections spreading,” said Susan Hopkins, UKHSA chief medical adviser, such as washing hands regularly and keeping rooms ventilated.
“If you feel unwell try to stay home, and if you have to go out, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.”