More than a million people may now have Covid in England

 More than a million people may now have Covid in England
Infections rose in many regions – and were even higher in Wales

Nearly a million people in England had Covid-19 last week, according to an official estimate.

The infection figure – of 977,900 people – equates to around one in 55 people, and is a big jump on the week before, when it was one in 60.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 was thought to have had coronavirus, and it’s feared the real figure now could be even higher than the estimate.

On Thursday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 daily cases for the first time since mid-July as infections rose steeply.

But ministers continued to reject calls from health leaders for restrictions such as compulsory masks indoors to be reintroduced.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said children in school years 7 to 11 had the highest percentage of positive tests, at 7.8 per cent, up week-on-week from 7.1 per cent.

Rates increased in all age groups except for those aged 25 to 34, where the trend was uncertain.

In England, infections increased in many regions, with a levelling-off in the West Midlands and the southeast following recent increases, the the ONS said.

In Wales, the percentage of people testing positive was higher than in England, and rose in the two weeks up to last Saturday.

The ONS estimated that 70,300 people in Wales had Covid, equating to around 1 in 45 people – the highest since estimates began in July last year.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 130, down from one in 120 the previous week.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates around one in 90 people had Covid-19 last week, down from one in 80 the previous week.

All figures are for people in private households.

Separate figures show that death rates in England and Wales last month were “significantly” higher this year than last.

Some 966.2 deaths per 100,000 people were registered in England, up from 885.5.

The leading cause of death in England was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 11.2 per cent of all deaths.

In line with rising infections in England, the number of adults travelling to work is at its highest level in a year, the figures show.

More than half (54 per cent) of working adults said they went to a place of work without doing any work at home in the past week, when questioned by the ONS. This is the highest proportion for a year.

About one in seven working adults worked solely from home – the lowest percentage since the survey began in May last year.

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