Around one in 45 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to December 16, up from one in 60 the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
One in 45 is the equivalent of about 1.2 million people and is the highest number since the ONS began estimating infection levels for England in May 2020.
In London, around one in 30 people was likely to test positive in the week to December 16 – the highest proportion for any region.
The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in the latest week is estimated to have increased in all regions of England except the north-east, south-west and West Midlands, where the trend is uncertain, the ONS said.
In Wales, around one in 55 people is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to December 16, unchanged from the previous week and below the recent record high of one in 40.
In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 50 people, also unchanged from the previous week and slightly below the record high of one in 40 in mid-August.
For Scotland, the latest estimate is one in 70, up from one in 80 the previous week and below September’s peak of one in 45.
When modelling the level of Covid-19 infections among different age ranges in England, the ONS said rates have increased in the latest week for all groups except those from school year 7 to 11 and for people aged 70 and over, where the trend is uncertain.
Rates were highest for those aged two to school year 6, at 5.9 per cent.
It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there will be no further announcements on Covid restrictions in England before Christmas.
“We are not planning any further announcements this week,” he told broadcasters.
“Despite the caution that we are all taking, people should enjoy their Christmases with their families and their friends – of course, remain cautious.
“We will keep the situation under review. We are learning more all the time as we have done from this new data.
“We will keep analysing that data and if we need to do anything more we will, but nothing more is going to happen before Christmas.”
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