Covid-19 infections rising in England and Wales for first time since July

Increase comes as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 begins to show signs of rising

Care home resident Jeff Collins receives a Covid booster vaccination at a nursing home in Bury, northern England. PA
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Coronavirus infections in England and Wales have risen for the first time in two months, government figures show.

The increase means that, despite falling numbers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the total number of infections in the UK has gone up.

Social distancing restrictions have largely been removed across the UK, and last month, data showed the number of Covid fatalities in the UK this summer were double the number of those for the same period in 2021.

The country has also embarked on an autumn vaccine booster campaign, which is largely aimed at vulnerable and older people rather than all sectors of society.

About 927,900 people are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in the week ending September 14, up 5 per cent from 881,200 in the previous week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

The increase ends a steady fall in UK-wide infections since early July, when the total hit 3.8 million at the peak of the wave caused by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

The figures come as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 begins to show signs of rising.

“Today's data show a mixed picture across the UK, with increases in England and Wales while infections in Scotland and Northern Ireland have decreased,” said Sarah Crofts, deputy director for the ONS Covid-19 infection survey.

“It is too early to see if these changing trends will continue and we will monitor the data closely to see any impact of the return to schools over the coming weeks.”

In England, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in the week to September 14 was 766,500, or about one in 70 — up from 705,800, or one in 75, in the seven days to September 5.

Wales has also reported a rise, with the latest estimate for infections at 39,700, or one in 75 people, up from 28,200, or one in 110.

Infections are estimated to have risen in north-east England, London, Yorkshire and The Humber, and the West Midlands, while falling in south-east England.

Updated: September 23, 2022, 2:28 PM