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Covid: Half a million new cases recorded in UK in just one week – one in 30 now infected

Covid: Dr Hilary Jones provides update as UK infection rates rise

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According to the ONS, in the week ending June 24, there were a total of 2.3 million cases nationwide. This was up by 32 percent compared to the week before. The ONS says this is “likely” caused by the Omicron variants, known as BA.4 and BA.5.

Infection rates were highest in Scotland where the estimated number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 288,200.

This equates to 5.47 percent of the population, or around one in 18 people, which was up from one in 20 the previous week.

Whereas in Northern Ireland 3.87 percent of people had the virus – or one in 25, up from one in 30.

In Wales, the infection rate is 3.49 percent or one in 30, up from one in 45 the week before.

And in England, 1.8 million people tested positive, equating to 3.35 percent of the population – or around one in 30 people.

This was up from one in 40 the week prior.

Although people can still become infected even after having Covid before, and after getting vaccinated, the jabs are working to prevent more serious illness.

Amid the rising cases, health officials urged people to make sure they are vaccinated.

Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “It is clear that the increasing prevalence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are significantly increasing the case numbers we have observed in recent weeks.

“We have seen a rise in hospital admissions in line with community infections but vaccinations are continuing to keep ICU admissions and deaths at low levels.

“As prevalence increases, it’s more important than ever that we all remain alert, take precautions, and ensure that we’re up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, which remain our best form of defence against the virus.

“It’s not too late to catch up if you’ve missed boosters, or even first doses so please take your recommended vaccines.”

Those over the age of 75 are most at risk of “severe disease”.

“Our data also show that 17.5 percent of people aged 75 years and over have not had a vaccine within the past six months, putting them more at risk of severe disease,” she warned.

“We urge these people in particular to get up-to-date.”

Although you are no longer required by law to isolate if you have COVID-19, it is advised to “stay away” from others.

Prof Hopkins added: “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 those who are elderly or vulnerable.

“Face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and hand washing will help to reduce transmission of infection and are especially important if you have any respiratory symptoms.”

The NHS says symptoms of Covid include:

  • A high temperature or shivering
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

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