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COVID-19 infections are continuing to rise across Britain, likely driven by the latest Omicron variants, figures showed today.
The number of people in hospital with coronavirus is also on an upward trend in most parts of the country, suggesting it is becoming steadily more prevalent.
Health experts said that while there was “currently no evidence” BA.4 and BA.5 lead to more serious symptoms than previous variants, nearly one in six people aged 75 and over have not received a vaccine booster in the past six months, putting them more at risk.
A total of 1.7 million people in private households were estimated to have had the virus last week, up 23 per cent from a week earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The rise is lower than the 43 per cent jump in the previous week’s figures, but total infections are higher than the peak reached during the second wave of the virus in January 2021.
Cases continue to be most prevalent in Scotland, where one in 20 people were likely to test positive for Covid-19 last week.
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said the figures were a “stark reminder” that the most vulnerable still need protection.
She said: “It is essential that we find a way to keep people safe without having to resort to lockdowns.
“Far too many people formerly on the shielding list feel like they have been abandoned by the SNP as they wait for their booster vaccine.
“The SNP must set out how it will protect people amid rising cases, and they must bring forward booster jabs and make antivirals available for the most vulnerable.”
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