Covid infections continuing to fall around the UK

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Covid infections are continuing to fall in the UK, dropping by more than half a million in a week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Roughly 2.6 million people had the virus in the week to 26 July, compared to 3.2 million the previous week.

The number of people in hospital with the virus is also decreasing.

But experts warn there is still a lot of Covid around, with data estimating one in 25 people in England currently have the virus.

Vaccines are helping protect people from severe illness, however.

Image source, BBC News

The ONS data is collated by testing thousands of people from UK households - whether or not they have symptoms - to estimate how much virus is circulating.

'Continued decreases'

In the latest ONS report, for the week ending 26 July , the estimated Covid rates were:

  • One in 25 in England - down from one in 20 the week before
  • One in 30 in Wales - down from one in 19
  • One in 17 in Northern Ireland - down from one in 16 (although experts say the trend is uncertain)
  • One in 20 in Scotland - down from one in 19

"Our most recent data suggests that infection rates have continued to decrease across much of the UK, although rates still remain high," said Dr Rhiannon Yapp, co-lead for the ONS survey.

"We have seen continued decreases in all regions and age groups in England.

"With the summer holidays and more people travelling, we will continue to closely monitor the data," she added.

Many of the recent cases have been linked to fast-spreading sub-variants of Omicron, called BA.4 and BA.5.

People are still able to become infected, even if they have had Covid before - but vaccines are helping to protect people from becoming severely ill.

The government announced last month that everyone aged 50 and over in the UK will be offered another Covid booster vaccine this autumn.

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