UK Covid infections lowest since mid-December

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Covid infections continue to decrease in the UK with around one in 45 or just over two in every 100 people thought to be infected.

The estimates - from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - show levels of the virus are at the lowest since mid-December.

It means around 1.48m people would have tested positive in the week to 7 May.

The figures are an estimate, based on testing thousands of people at random in households across the UK.

They provide the most accurate picture of Covid infection since free testing for the public came to an end in England and Scotland. Some free testing will continue in Wales and Northern Ireland until the end of June.

Sarah Crofts, head of analytical outputs for the ONS Covid Infection Survey, said: "It is encouraging to see infections continue to decrease across the UK."

The ONS research found:

  • One in 45 people in England has Covid (down from one in 35 the previous week)
  • One in 35 in Wales has Covid (down from one in 25)
  • One in 55 in Northern Ireland has Covid (down from one in 40)
  • One in 35 in Scotland has Covid (down from one in 30)

Official UK data shows the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid continues to fall.

Figures had risen from about 1,100 a day in mid-February to nearly 2,400 by the end of March, but they have since dropped to about 860 admissions each day.

The number of hospital patients with the virus in intensive care stands at around 200.

Meanwhile, another survey by the ONS suggests many people previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid and who were asked to shield at home earlier in the pandemic are continuing to take precautions to protect themselves.

And around one in 10 of the 1,036 people surveyed said they were still following the shielding advice, even though it ended in 2021.

More than half (59%) of respondents reported that the pandemic had a negative effect on them and 78% felt that it should be the law for those who test positive for Covid to self-isolate.

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