Live updates: Omicron variants drive UK Covid infections up

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Covid infections have continued to rise across the UK, driven by highly transmissible versions of the Omicron variant, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics.

In the week ending June 29, around 2,154,000 people had tested positive in England, the equivalent of around one in 25 people, up from one in 30 the previous week, the ONS said on Friday.

In Wales, around one in 20 people had the virus, up from one in 30 the previous week.

In Northern Ireland, around one in 19 people have tested positive, up from one in 25, while in Scotland one in 17 people are estimated to have been infected, up from one in 18 previously.

The data is based on confirmed positive test results from people living in private homes and does not include those in care homes or hospitals, for example.

With most people who catch the virus no longer bother to report their test results, casting doubt on the reliability of other published statistics, the ONS survey of Covid-19 infections is considered as one of the world’s most reliable sources of information on the spread of the virus. .

Sarah Crofts, head of analytical results for the survey, said: “We continue to see infections rising across all UK countries, English regions and age groups.”

These increases were due to increased infections with Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

Crofts added: “Scotland continues to have the highest infection rate, although it has recently increased at a slower rate compared to other countries in the UK. We will continue to monitor the data to see if this recent rise starts to slow in Scotland. »

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