The daily number of Covid hospital cases in England has topped 1,000 for the first time since April, new figures show.
Hospital cases continue to rise as the latest data showed a 37 per cent increase week on week.
The total number of patients with Covid in English hospitals was 6,177 as on Wednesday – up from 4,843 the week prio.
According to the figures the North West saw the largest increase on Monday with a 56 per cent growth.
The Covid Actuaries Response Group has estimated the current “R” value for the virus, meaning the rate one person infects others, is 1.18.
The expert group said its recent analysis suggested deaths of patients with Covid in English hospitals may now be increasing adding “it is clear at least that they are no longer decreasing.”
The news comes amid global concern over the two new sub-variants of Covid-19, known as BA.4 and BA.5.
The World Health Organisation has been investigating two Omicron sub-variants since April to assess whether they are more infectious or dangerous than their predecessor. Both BA.4 and BA.5 have been added to the agency’s monitoring list.
Last week new figures showed that Covid-19 infections in the UK increased by 43 per cent in the week after the platinum jubilee celebrations, with the two new sub-variants believed to be behind the sudden increase.
According to preliminary data from Kei Sato at the University of Tokyo and colleagues, BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 may have evolved to refavour infection of lung cells, rather than upper respiratory tract tissue – making them more similar to earlier variants, such as Alpha or Delta.