England Covid cases at record high with 1 in 13 people infected

Boris Johnson says it would be 'irresponsible' to rule out further lockdowns if more deadly coronavirus variants emerge

The UK has mostly relaxed its Covid restrictions. Getty Images

Covid-19 infections levels are at record highs in England and Wales, with 4.88 million people in private households in the UK estimated to have had the virus last week.

In England, about one in 13, or 4.1 million people, were likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to April 2 — unchanged from the week to March 26, data from the Office for National Statistics show.

In Wales, the estimate is also one in 13 people, up from one in 14 people from the previous period.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it would be “irresponsible” to rule out further lockdowns if more deadly coronavirus variants were to emerge.

“I think it would be irresponsible of any leader in any democracy to say that they're going to rule out something that can save lives,” he said.

“I believe the things we did saved lives. I've got to be absolutely frank — there could be a new variant more deadly, there could be a variant that affects children that we really need to contain, [so] I'm not going to take any options off the table. But I don't think it will happen.

“We're now in the phase where the virus is losing its potency overall and we've got a massively vaccinated UK population.”

While England and Wales are reporting record infection levels, Scotland is recording fewer cases and in Northern Ireland, the trend was “uncertain”, official data show.

Sarah Crofts, head of analytical outputs for the Office for National Statistics Covid survey, said: “While infections remain high, there are early signs in our latest data that they may no longer be increasing in some parts of the UK.

“Across English regions, there is a mixed picture in trends and we have seen a welcome decrease in Scotland. However, rates in Wales continue to rise and the trend in Northern Ireland is uncertain.

“It is too early to say if infections have peaked in England and Scotland. We will continue to monitor the data closely.”

The statistics office said the percentage of people testing positive in England has increased among those from school year 12 to age 34, and for people aged 70 and over.

Updated: April 08, 2022, 2:43 PM