Prevalence of the virus remains well below the record high reached in the spring.
17 June 2022
Covid-19 infections have risen in all four nations of the UK, with the increase likely to be driven by the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5, figures show.
The number of people in hospital with Covid is also showing signs of an upwards trend, suggesting the virus is once again becoming more prevalent across the country.
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, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Total infections are now back at levels last seen at the start of May, but remain well below the record 4.9 million at the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave at the end of March.
The ONS said the latest increase was “likely caused by infections compatible with Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5”, which are now thought to be the most dominant variants in much of the UK.
BA.4 and BA.5 are newer strains of coronavirus that were recently classified as “variants of concern”, after analysis found both were likely to have a “growth advantage” over BA.2.
In England, 1.1 million people were likely to test positive for Covid-19 last week – the equivalent of around one in 50.
This is up week-on-week from 797,500, or one in 70.
Wales has seen infections rise to 64,800 people, or one in 45, up from 40,500, or one in 75.
The virus is estimated to be most prevalent in Scotland, where 176,900 people were likely to have tested positive last week, or one in 30, up from 124,100, or one in 40.
Northern Ireland has seen Covid-19 infections jump to an estimated 42,900 people, or one in 45, up from 27,700, or one in 65.