Four and a half million people currently have COVID in the UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculated that, among a total population of 67 million, between the past and the current 4.26 million people had COVID-19, due to the predominance of the BA.2 subvariant.

The number of people infected by covid-19 in the United Kingdom, where most restrictions have been lifted, brushed against its weekly record with relative indifference, according to official estimates published on Friday.

Based on a representative sample of the population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculated that, among a total population of 67 million, last week 4.26 million people had covid-19, bordering on 4.3 million of the first week of 2022, when the highest weekly figure since the start of the pandemic was recorded.

The agency attributed these data to the high transmissibility of the BA.2 subvariant of the omicron. It estimated that one in 16 people had the coronavirus in England and Wales, 1 in 17 in Northern Ireland and 1 in 11 in Scotland.

The UK is among European countries that the World Health Organization (WHO) says have lifted restrictions “too abruptly”.

According to epidemiologists, one of the reasons for this rebound is the current prevalence of the BA.2 subvariant, 30% more contagious, but no more dangerous, than its predecessor, BA.1.

In England, masks are no longer compulsory since the end of January and positive people do not legally have to quarantine. The requirement for travelers to submit a test and provide contact details was also recently lifted.

Other British nations, such as Scotland, continue to impose masks in closed places although Wales plans to eliminate them on Monday. But unlike previous waves, the authorities take no action and the outbreak unfolds in relative public indifference as the war in Ukraine and soaring prices dominate the news.

The United Kingdom, one of the countries hardest hit by covid-19, has recorded more than 164,000 confirmed deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

jov (afp, financialtimes)

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