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Covid-19 Cases Are Still Rising Across All UK Nations Except Scotland, ONS Data Suggests

The latest ONS paint a very different picture to government statistics, which suggest a consistent fall in infections (Alamy)

3 min read

Scotland was the only UK nation to see a fall in coronavirus rates last week as the Delta variant continues to drive up infections.

Fresh data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that around 1 in 65 people in England had coronavirus in the week ending 24 July, up from 1 in 75 the week before and 1 in 95 two weeks prior. 

The overall weekly rise comes as daily cases of positive Covid tests fell on a number of days this week. The ONS suggested, however, that there are possible signs that the rate of increase may have slowed in England.

Covid rates have also risen in Wales — which saw 1 in 160 infected, compared to 1 in 210 last week — and Northern Ireland —  which saw approximately 1 in 65 infected, compared to 1 in 170 last week.

Rates in Scotland have fallen to around 1 in 110 people, compared to 1 in 80 last week. 

It is estimated that around 856,200 people in England had coronavirus last week, alongside a further 18,800 in Wales, 27,200 in Northern Ireland and 49,500 in Scotland.

The latest figures paint a very different picture to current government testing data, which suggests that coronavirus infections have been consistently falling over the past week. 

Department of Health data shows that infection rates are falling in every age group in England, with the fastest drop among people in their 20s.

Thursday’s figures from the government suggested that the number of UK Covid cases have increased for the first time in 8 days and that the rates are down 40% on last week.

“While our findings for England may seem to contradict recent daily test and trace figures, it’s important to understand that the ONS survey tests a large randomised sample of the population regardless of whether they have symptoms,” the ONS said in its analysis.

“This and other factors may lie behind the apparent discrepancies.”

The ONS data suggests that infection rates were highest last week among secondary school age children — comprising school years 7 to 11 —  and teenagers and young adults  — school year 12 to age 24 years.

Young people were also three times more likely to be self-isolating in the week to 24 July, with almost 1 in 10 (9%) 16- to 29-year-olds claiming they had been quarantined in the previous seven days.

Positivity rates were the lowest in older age groups, though hospital admissions were highest among those aged 75 and over.

Hospital admissions increased in every region in England except the North West, and across all age groups, except in those aged 5 to 14 years.

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