ovid-19 infections have jumped again in England with one in 16 people estimated to have had the virus in the week up to March 19 – up from one in 20 the previous week.
Some 3.5 million people were estimated to have the virus in England, 800,000 more than the week up to March 12.
Scotland has seen infection levels rise for eight weeks in a row and they have now reached a new record high, with nearly half a million people (473,800) estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, or around one in 11. This is up from 376,300 people, or one in 14, the previous week.
In Wales, the estimate is up from 125,400 people, or one in 25, to 192,900 people, or one in 16.
In Northern Ireland 108,700 people were likely to have had Covid-19 last week, or one in 17 people: down from 130,600 people, or one in 14.
Across the UK as a whole, 4.26 million people were likely to have had coronavirus last week – just short of the 4.30 million in the first week of 2022, which was the highest total since estimates began.
The steep rise in infections across much of the country is being driven by the Omicron BA.2 variant, a more transmissible form of Omicron, the ONS said.
The Standard revealed on Friday that the number of Covid cases being diagnosed in London has increased by 28 per cent in a week.
City Hall statistics gathered from the NHS show there were 58,092 confirmed cases in London in the week to March 18 – up 28 per cent on the 45,211 in the previous seven days.
But the rate of increase is slowing – it was almost 50 per cent a week ago – and London’s rate is below the national average and is the third lowest of the English regions.
Transport for London was accused of “public disinformation” for claiming rates were falling.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the Zoe covid tracker app, warned “there had never been a riskier time to travel”.
TfL, in its regular email about weekend closures, said it strongly encouraged passengers to continue wearing face masks, though there was no longer a legal requirement to do so following the Government’s decision to lift restrictions “and the decreasing infection rates in London”.
The latest figures come after UK recorded 98,104 Covid-19 cases and 165 deaths on Thursday.
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 continues to creep higher, according to Thursday’s update, standing at nearly 17,00 after 19 successive daily increases.