ovid cases have surged 26 per cent in the past week taking the daily average to more than 300,000 a day.
There were 324,954 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK this week, up from 258,155 reported last week, according to the latest Zoe Covid Study incidence figures.
London, the South East, South West and East of England are reporting the highest case numbers per million people.
London and the South West are approaching 500 cases per 100,000 people.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Study app, said: “After two years of the pandemic, Covid-19 is affecting more people than ever before.
“The Zoe Covid Study data estimates there has been more than 35 million Covid cases in the UK since May 2020, with 18 million occurring just since Omicron hit in early December.
“The Government’s refusal to recognise the wide array of symptoms and to drop isolation advice and testing is likely driving the incredible number of cases we see today.
“Many people are no longer isolating when they have symptoms, either because they feel they don’t have to anymore or because they or their employers still don’t recognise symptoms like runny nose or sore throat as Covid.
“With Covid cases the worst they have ever been, and 2,000 people a day in hospital, we need to be telling people to self-isolate with cold-like symptoms and get a test if they can.”
Data shows case rates are rising across all age groups, although the highest number of cases is being seen in 0-17-year-olds, with more than 600 cases per 100,000.
Staff absences at NHS hospitals in England due to Covid-19 have jumped more than 30 per cent week-on-week, the biggest increase since the start of the year.
An average of 23,127 staff at hospital trusts in England – two per cent of the total workforce – were absent each day last week, either because they were sick with Covid-19 or were self-isolating.
This is up 31 per cent on the week to March 13, and is the largest percentage rise since the seven days to January 2 during the peak of the Omicron wave when NHS staff Covid absences rose by 41 per cent.
These figures come after the UK went passed two years since the first lockdown in 2020 this week.
Despite rising case levels, Sajid Javid Health Secretary, said the Government’s stance has not changed.
He said: “Our level of concern hasn’t changed. Although the case numbers are rising, infections are rising, and indeed hospital numbers are rising, they are still way below their peak.
“It’s also important for us when we review this to understand why they are rising.
“And that is primarily down to the increased social mixing we are seeing, as our country has opened up, but also the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, which we know is, on the one hand more infectious, but on the other hand we know that our vaccines work just as well against this.”