New figures shows that the United Kingdom has recorded a high number of Covid cases in a single week and it has reached the highest level since mid-August.
Around 1.3 million people could have tested positive for the virus in the week to September 26, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up from 1.1 million in the previous week and marks the highest total since the seven days up to August 16, at the peak of the wave caused by the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants of the virus.
In England, the number of people testing positive for Covid in the latest survey was 1.1 million, or around one in 50 – up from 857,400, or one in 65, in the previous week. Most of the infected are the over-70s.
There is a concern that the a rise in cases during the autumn for the third year in a row, is most likely because of the end of the summer and a general return to more indoor activities across all age groups.
Across England, a total of 9,631 people with Covid-19 were in hospital – a jump of 37 per cent on the week before.
However, the figures remain far below those reached during previous waves of the pandemic. The highest number of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients in the capital so far this year was 4,047, recorded on January 5 at the peak of the omicron wave.
It is believed that a number of new Covid-19 variants are circulating at a low level within the UK, but some are believed to have a degree of immune escape, meaning a person’s immune system can no longer recognise or fight this type of coronavirus.
Three of the variants show evidence of a “growth advantage” compared to Omicron BA.5, which is currently the dominant variant in the UK.
These are all types of Omicron and have been named BA.2.75.X, BF.7 and BQ.X. It is possible that the new variants are fueling the current rise in infections.