UK reports 179,756 new Covid cases as Omicron surge continues | Coronavirus

The UK has reported a further 179,756 Covid cases, as the number of people infected with the Omicron variant continues to surge.

The latest figures – which reflect infections picked up by testing – bring the UK total for the past seven days to 1,272,131, up 29% on the week before. The true number of infections is estimated to be substantially higher as not all infections are captured by the testing programme.

The figure does not include reinfections for most of the countries in the UK, and reflects cases by date reported, rather than by specimen date.

Data released on Thursday also reveals that in the UK there are 17,988 Covid patients in hospital, up from 17,295 the day before. A further 231 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were reported in the UK on Thursday.The data comes as the latest weekly Flu and Covid-19 Surveillance report from the UK Health Security Agency revealed that Covid case rates rose considerably in England between 27 December 2021 and 2 January 2022, particularly in the north-east and among white ethnic groups.

The report adds that weekly case rates were highest in those aged 20 to 29, at 2,780.7 per 100,000 population, compared with 552.0 per 100,000 population in those under the age of five.

Covid hospital admission rates also rose, with the highest rates recorded in London and in those aged 85 and over.

The UKHSA adds that levels of flu remain low, and that the uptake of flu jabs among those aged 65 and over is, at 81.4%, at a record level.

Dr William Welfare of the UK Health Security Agency, urged everyone to work together to protect loved ones and the healthcare service.

“That includes taking a lateral flow test before meeting people, ventilating indoor spaces, wearing a face covering in crowded enclosed spaces, and staying at home if you have symptoms,” he said. “Don’t take chances with this virus – please get your vaccination or booster jab if you haven’t already.”

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