Covid-19: the infection rates across the UK as the government stops publishing coronavirus data

It is the last time that regular estimates of Covid-19 are being published, as the long-running infection survey – dubbed the “envy of the world” – has been halted by the government.

The last official estimates of Covid-19 in the UK show infections in England are at their highest level since the start of the year.

The trend in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is uncertain, though there are signs the virus is continuing to become more prevalent. It is the last time that regular estimates of Covid-19 are being published, as the long-running infection survey – dubbed the “envy of the world” for its success in tracking the virus – has been halted.

Any further monitoring of Covid-19 will be announced after a review to ensure it is “cost effective”, according to the UK Health Security Agency. This comes as the number of people testing positive in England hit its highest figure so far this year.

An estimated 1.5 million people in England were likely to have had coronavirus in the week ending 13 March, up by 171,200 previous week. It is the highest total for England since the week to 3 January, when the total stood at 2.2 million.

This is based on the weekly Office for National Statistics’ infection survey which uses random PCR sampling of private households in the UK, and has been unaffected by end of mass testing.

Michelle Bowen, ONS head of health surveillance dissemination, said: “This week’s data show infections are rising in England; however, the trend is uncertain across the rest of the UK. In England, positivity increased in children and those aged 50 and over. The North West, East Midlands and South East of England all saw infections increase, though the trend is uncertain in all other regions.”

The infection survey has run continuously for nearly three years, providing valuable weekly data on levels of Covid-19 across the UK and allowing successive waves of the virus to be identified and tracked. It has also supplied crucial information on the emergence of new variants, antibody levels and long Covid.

Sir David Spiegelhalter, emeritus professor of statistics at Cambridge University and chairman of the advisory board for the survey, told the PA news agency it had been an “extraordinary achievement” which has provided “vital evidence of great value both to national policy and international scientific understanding”.

He continued: “There is a general consensus that the survey has been a world-leading demonstration of how health surveillance can best be done. It is expensive, and this has led to it being paused, but the participant group is not being disbanded and a survey should be able to ramp up when necessary.”

Read below to find out the Covid infection rate in your area.

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