Sharp rises in infection levels in England, says ONS

Levels of coronavirus are continuing to rise with one in 85 people in England infected, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Figures for the week to 18 December estimate nearly 650,000 people have the virus, up from 570,000 the week before.

London now has the highest percentage of people testing positive – more than 2%.

In Wales, about one in 60 people are infected – a sharp increase. Infection levels are also up in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, the percentage of people testing positive has decreased, equating to one in 140 people there with the virus, the ONS suggests.

It comes as a total of 521,594 people have been vaccinated in England over the two weeks since roll-out started, with thousands more across the UK nations. People aged 80 and over received 70% of these doses.×250&!1&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=r7jFm8KMfY&p=https%3A//

According to the ONS figures, there are sharp rises in levels of positive tests in the capital, the east of England, and the South East, where a new variant of the virus is spreading at a dangerous rate, according to government ministers.

About two-thirds of people testing positive in these areas could have the new variant – but this is only an estimate based on genes detected by the tests, the ONS says.

There are two variants causing concern at the moment – the first, likely to have taken hold in Kent, is thought to be driving a growth in cases in the south and east of England in recent weeks.

Scientists say it spreads more easily than other forms of the virus although they don’t believe it causes more serious disease.

The second variant, which originated in South Africa and is causing a spike in cases there, was detected in two cases in the UK on Tuesday, prompting a ban on travel from the country.

Source: BBC

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