Coronavirus infections in England at highest level since mid-April, new figures show

4 June 2021, 14:23 | Updated: 4 June 2021, 14:48

The number of people with Covid-19 is increasing in a number of regions in England
The number of people with Covid-19 is increasing in a number of regions in England. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Coronavirus infections in England are at their highest level since mid-April, according to figures released on Friday.

Around one in 640 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to May 29, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

This is up from one in 1,120 in the previous week and the highest level since the week to April 16.

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Separately, statistics released by the ONS show an estimated one million people in private households in the UK reported experiencing long Covid in the four weeks to May 2.

Of these, 376,000 first had the virus or suspected they had the virus at least one year ago.

The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in north-west England, the East Midlands and south-west England.

There are also signs of a possible increase in the West Midlands and London while the trend is uncertain for other regions, the ONS said.

In many regions positivity rates are very low, meaning trends are difficult to identify since they are affected by small changes in the number of people testing positive.

North-west England had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to May 29: around one in 280.

South-east England had the lowest estimate: around one in 1,490.

Meanwhile, in Wales, there are "early signs" of an increase in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19, with around one in 1,050 people estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to May 29, the ONS said.

This is up from one in 3,850 in the previous week and is also the highest estimate since the week to April 16.

In Northern Ireland the trend is "uncertain", with an estimate of around one in 800 for the week to May 29, broadly unchanged from one in 820 in the previous week.

The trend is also "uncertain" for Scotland, where the latest estimate is around one in 680, broadly unchanged from one in 630.

All figures are for people in private households.

According to statistics released separately on Friday by the ONS, long Covid was estimated to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 650,000 people, with 192,000 reporting that their ability to undertake day-to-day activities had been limited a lot.

There has been a "marked increase" in the number of people with self-reported long Covid that has lasted for at least a year, the ONS said.

Previous figures, covering the four weeks to March 6, 2021, suggested 70,000 people in private households in the UK had experienced symptoms of long Covid for at least 12 months.

The latest figures, for the four weeks to May 2, put the number at 376,000.

Prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in people aged 35 to 69 years, females, those living in the most deprived areas, those working in health or social care and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability, the ONS found.

Long Covid covers a broad range of symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain and difficulty concentrating.

Fatigue (weakness or tiredness) was the most common symptom reported as part of individuals' experience of long Covid up until May 2 (547,000 out of 1.0 million people), followed by shortness of breath (405,000), muscle ache (313,000) and difficulty concentrating (285,000).