The proportion of people testing positive for Covid in the UK has continued to increase, new figures show, after the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron strains became the dominant form of the virus.
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It is a similar case in Sheffield, where it is estimated 2.38 per cent of the population was carrying the disease in the week leading up to June 18.
This is an increase on the week before, when the rate was approximately 1.85 per cent.
It means the number of people with the disease has increased from one-in-55 to one-in-40.
The estimates are based on random PCR samples from private households across the UK. It excludes people living in communal housing such as care homes.
Covid rates have increased in all four nations over the last week. A total of 1.7 million people were estimated to have the virus last week, up from 1.4 million the week before, a rise of 23 per cent. The previous week there was a 43 per cent increase.
New data published yesterday (June 23) by the Wellcome Sanger Institute shows BA.4 and BA.5 became the dominant Covid strains in England in the week to 11 June.
Of the 953 positive PCR tests successfully analysed, 547 were found to be either BA.4 or BA.5, 57 per cent of the total.
In the previous week, they made up 42 per cent of cases.
BA.4 and BA.5 are sub variants of the Omicron variant, and were designated as ‘variants of concern’ by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in May.
They have been blamed for a new wave of infections in the UK, with hospital admissions also rising sharply in recent weeks.
Read more: 17 places where hospitalisations have doubled in a week amid BA4 and BA5 wave - according to NHS data
In a statement on June 17, Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UKHSA, said: “After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.”