the number of people infected with Covid-19 close to the record

The number of people infected with Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, where most restrictions have been lifted, is close to its record in relative indifference, according to estimates published on Friday March 25.

Based on a representative sample of the population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 4.26 million people were infected with the virus last week compared to 4.3 million in the first week of the year, the maximum since the start of the pandemic, for a population of 67 million. Highlighting the role of the even more contagious Omicron sub-variant BA.2 in the sharp upturn in the epidemic, the ONS estimates that one in 16 people in England had the virus. The proportion is the same for Wales, while the ratio is 1 in 17 in Northern Ireland and 1 in 11 in Scotland.

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Restrictions lifted

The United Kingdom is among the European countries which in the eyes of the World Health Organization have lifted “too brutally» their measures to combat the spread of the virus and find themselves faced with a sharp rise in cases under the effect of the BA.2 sub-variant. According to epidemiologists, this rebound is explained in particular by the now predominance of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, approximately 30% more contagious – but not more dangerous – than its predecessor, BA.1. After a strong wave at the end of December, anti-Covid restrictions have all been lifted in recent weeks in England, including the obligation to isolate oneself in the event of a positive test. They have been considerably reduced in other nations but wearing a mask indoors remains compulsory in Scotland and, until Monday, in Wales.

Unlike the last wave, the authorities show no willingness to adopt any measures and the current outbreak is unfolding in relative public indifference, with the news dominated by the war in Ukraine and the fall in purchasing power. In England, the most vulnerable can benefit from a fourth dose of vaccine since Monday. The number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 is increasing but according to the latest data from the health service, the majority are admitted for other pathologies. Since the start of the pandemic, the United Kingdom, which is among the hardest hit countries, has suffered more than 164,000 deaths in the 28 days following a positive test.

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