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Covid cases rise for 2nd week amid fears of ‘uncertainty’ over new variant

COVID cases have risen again this week with 1.1million Brits infected with the bug, new data has revealed.

This is up from 1.03million last week, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Covid cases have increased again this week as we head into the Christmas period

Infections are up across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with experts warning that the picture is ‘uncertain’.

Michelle Bowen, Head of Health Surveillance Dissemination and Strategy at the ONS said: “Infections have continued to increase across England, increased in Northern Ireland for the first time in a month and the trend in all other UK countries is now uncertain.

“Across English regions and ages, it is a mixed picture of uncertainty and increases in infection rates, and we will continue to monitor the data carefully over the winter months.”

It’s an increase of eight per cent on last week, with cases also climbing in kids in year 7, the data up to November 26 states.

Figures show that there has also been an increase in those in year 12-24 years-old and in those aged 35-49.

Around one in 60 people in England have the bug, one in 70 in Wales, one in 50 in Northern Ireland and one in 60 in Scotland.

The report stated: “Since the end of June 2022, most Covid-19 infections in the UK have been Omicron variant BA.5. A BA.5 sub-lineage, BQ.1, has been increasing considerably in recent weeks.”

However, millions of Brits are now protected from a huge vaccine rollout and immunity from prior infections.

Cases are still lower than they were when Omicron first burst onto the scene.

This time last year, daily cases sat at over 53,000, with over 140 deaths being reported.

The increase in cases comes after medics warned of a new variant that could be driving infections.

The BQ1 Omicron offshoot is now dominant and makes up 50.4 per cent of infections, compared to 39 per cent last week.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director at NHS England warned that this winter could be one of the most challenging for the NHS.

He said: “There is a new variant circulating – BQ1 – which is becoming the dominant variant and it seems likely that is going to drive further increases.

“In some countries in Europe that have it you can already see growth in hospital admissions. No doubt those pressures will increase.”

He added that as we move towards Christmas we will see increasing levels of flu in the community and increasing numbers of patients needing admission to hospital.

Prof Powis added that more patients were being admitted to hospital with the bug.

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  1. Pingback: Is it Strep A, a cold, flu or Covid? The key symptoms all parents need to know

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