Coronavirus levels continue to fall across the UK

BBC News

The number of people who currently have coronavirus in the UK is continuing to fall, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It suggests around 3.76 million people were infected in the week ending 16 April – roughly one in 17 people.

This is a fall of about 15% on the week before – when the figure stood at 4.4 million, or around one in 15 people.

Other ONS data suggests more than 70% of people in England have had coronavirus since the pandemic began.

ONS officials welcomed the overall decline in infection in the UK in recent weeks, but warned levels of the virus remain high.

The latest study, based on testing by the ONS, gives the clearest available picture of the virus' spread since free testing ended for most people in England at the beginning of this month.

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Some limited free testing for the public will continue in Scotland until the end of April, and in Wales and Northern Ireland until the end of June.


The ONS compiles the data by testing thousands of people at random – whether they have symptoms or not – to estimate how much virus there is in the UK.

Duncan Cook, deputy director for the Covid-19 infection survey, said he welcomed the "continued decrease" in infections across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as Wales, where infections have fallen for the first time in several weeks.

He added it was "encouraging" to see that infections had decreased "in all age groups" across England.

But cautioned: "Despite the decrease in infections, it is important to note that levels remain high. We continue to monitor these going forward."

graph of infectionsBBC News

In the week ending 16 April, the study estimates:

  • One in 17 people in England had coronavirus, about 5.9% of the population – down from 6.9% the previous week
  • One in 15 people in Wales had coronavirus, about 6.5% of the population – down from 7.6% the previous week
  • One in 30 people in Northern Ireland had coronavirus, about 3.6% of the population – down from 5.2% the previous week
  • One in 19 people in Scotland had coronavirus, about 5.4% of the population – down from 6% the previous week

The study shows infections fell in all English regions apart from the North East, where the trend was uncertain and where infection rates remain the highest in England.

  • Why are so many people catching Covid again?
  • Who can still get free Covid tests?

The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant – which was partly behind the recent surge in cases – continues to be responsible for most cases across the UK, though levels are falling.

Other UK data shows the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid continues on a downward trend.

Figures had risen from about 1,100 a day in mid-February to nearly 2,400 by the end of March, but have since dropped to about 2,200 admissions per day.

Meanwhile the number of hospital patients in intensive care with the virus, who require ventilators, stands at around 350.

Related Internet Links

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK – Office for National Statistics

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