The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 4.9 million people were infected with the virus last week, compared to 4.3 million in the first week of the year.
The number of people infected with Covid-19 in the UK hit an all-time high, according to estimates published on Friday, the day free testing ends as part of its strategy to live with the pandemic.
Based on a representative sample of the population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 4.9 million people were infected with the virus last week, up from 4.3 million in the first week of the year, the previous record in the country of 67 million people.
According to this study, about 700,000 more people have been infected than last week, which is considered more reliable than the daily statistics that depend on whether or not patients are tested and reporting the result to authorities.
One in thirteen infected
The ONS estimates that one in 13 people had the virus in England. The proportion rises to 1 in 12 in Scotland, while the ratio is 1 in 14 in Wales and 1 in 15 in Northern Ireland.
The number of hospital admissions has also increased compared to last week, especially among the over-45s. The current rise is attributed to the spread of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant.
The United Kingdom is among the European countries that, in the eyes of the World Health Organization (WHO), have lifted their measures to prevent the spread of the virus “too abruptly”.
Wearing a mask still mandatory in Scotland
Scotland will become the last British country to end compulsory masks on April 18.
Unlike the last wave in December, authorities show no willingness to return to restrictions, while the current wave plays with relative indifference as the news is dominated by declining purchasing power and the war in Ukraine.
Since Friday, British people have had to pay, with few exceptions, to obtain screening tests, which until then were available free of charge in pharmacies or by ordering them from the health service.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United Kingdom, which is among the worst affected countries, has recorded more than 165,300 deaths from the coronavirus.