One in eight people in England had been infected with the new coronavirus in December, marking a marked increase compared to the previous month (1 in 11) against the background of the spread of a new highly contagious variant, according to an official study released on Tuesday.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
One in 10 people in Wales, one in 13 in Northern Ireland and one in 11 in Scotland had contracted Covid-19 around the same time, according to the Office for National Statistics, the ONS. The latter is based on antibody tests carried out randomly in the population and therefore also make it possible to identify asymptomatic people, and not only those who test positive.
A third wave of the virus, the deadliest, is currently sweeping the United Kingdom. This country deplores the death of nearly 90,000 people who tested positive for Covid-19, the worst record in Europe.
Faced with the strong spread of the virus, attributed to a new strain considered to be very contagious which appeared in the United Kingdom, the different constituent nations have decided to reconfigure themselves and to close schools, with different timetables, each one deciding on its own strategy crisis.
In Scotland, even if the restrictions “are starting to have an impact” in terms of a drop in the number of contaminations, this containment initially planned to last until the end of January will remain in place “at least until mid-February”, announced Premier Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.
“Any loosening of containment while the number of cases remains very high, even if it is falling, could quickly reverse the situation,” she warned.
In England, the most populous with 56 million people, restrictions are planned to be able to remain in force until March 31, but a review is scheduled for mid-February.
According to the ONS, overall mortality for the first week of January was 45.8% higher than the average for the past five years in England and Wales. The body warned, however, that the data could be skewed by delays in registering deaths during the Christmas holiday period.
London, particularly affected by the latest wave, recorded an increase of nearly 85% in the number of deaths compared to the average recorded the same week for the past five years.
Health Minister Matt Hancock, who contracted Covid-19 last year, announced on Twitter Tuesday that he would observe a period of quarantine until Sunday after possible contact with an infected person.