Coronavirus levels on rise across UK with 1.7m people infected

Covid infection levels are rising across much of the UK, with more than 1.7 million people thought to have had the virus in the most recent week, data has revealed.

About one in 35 people in England – 2.8% of the population – had Covid in the week ending 3 October based on swabs from randomly selected households, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. It is an increase from one in 50 the week before.

Infection levels have also risen in Wales and Northern Ireland: for both, an estimated one in 40 people had Covid in the most recent week. In Scotland, the trend remained unclear, with one in 50 people estimated to have had Covid in the week ending 29 September.

In England, increases in infection levels were recorded for all regions except the north-east in the most recent week, and for all age groups except those aged two years to school year 12 (aged 10-11). The highest levels of infection were seen for people aged 70 and over, with about 3.7% of this age group having had Covid in the most recent week.

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Nicola Davis Science correspondent