Coronavirus levels reached all-time highs in Scotland and Wales and approached record levels in England, with about 4.2 million people infected across the UK last week, official figures showed on Friday.
The sharp increase in infection was due to Omicron BA.2, a more easily transmitted variant of Omicron, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
About one in 16 people in England is likely to contract the disease in the week to March 19, the third consecutive weekly increase, the country’s official statistics body said.
About 4.26 million people are believed to have been infected across the UK last week, just a fraction of the record 4.3 million recorded in the first week of 2022.
Despite the number of infections, the New Year wave resulted in far fewer deaths than previous attacks due to relatively mild Omicron symptoms.
The number of people hospitalized in England and Wales is also on the rise, although the number of people in high dependency units remains low.
Scottish Hospitals are currently treating 2,326 patients, a new record.
Britain has been one of the countries worst hit by the epidemic, recording 164,454 deaths.
James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and professor of structural biology at Oxford University, said “there have been no signs the virus has peaked in terms of infection”.
“The large scale of the infection is now pressing health services but the combination of vaccination, better treatment and the less severe nature of Omicron means for the vast majority of those infected this will not be life threatening,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)