Covid cases are rising across the UK (Composite: Kim Mogg / JPIMedia)

Covid cases UK: 15 areas where coronavirus infections are highest as Omicron sub-variant BA.2 spreads

 The rise in Covid cases is thought to have been driven by increased social mixing and the highly infectious BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron

Covid infections are continuing to rise across the UK, with 3.3 million people estimated to have coronavirus last week.

This is up from 2.6 million the previous week, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Case numbers in Scotland have now risen for seven weeks in a row and hit another record high, with 376,300 people estimated to have had the virus last week – or one in 14 – up from 299,900 people - one in 18 - the previous week.

In England and Wales, coronavirus is now circulating at levels seen in early February, while the trend in Northern Ireland is “uncertain”, with infections likely to have dropped slightly.

On the whole, infections across the country are still below levels seen at the start of the year when 4.3 million people were likely to have had the virus, but the latest figures is evidence that the virus is once again becoming more prevalent.

It is thought that the rise in cases has been driven by the increased level of social mixing since restrictions eased, as well as the highly infectious BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.

Despite the sharp increase in infections, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government’s “level of concern” over Covid “hasn’t changed”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “Our level of concern hasn’t changed and that’s because although case numbers are rising, infections are rising and indeed hospital numbers are rising, they are still way below their peak.

“And it’s also important for us when we review this to understand why they are rising and that is primarily due to the increased social mixing we’re seeing after the country’s opened up, but also the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron which we know is on the one hand more infectious but, on the other hand, we know that our vaccines work just as well against this sub-variant.

“And so taking all that into account, of course we keep the data under review, but there’s no particular cause for concern at this point.”

He added that while free testing will come to an end later this month, the UK will still have “excellent data on a very regular basis about what’s going on with the virus in the country” due to surveillance studies, such as that run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But where are Covid infections most prevalent right now? Listed are the 15 areas with the highest coronavirus rates in the UK per 100,000 population, based on the latest available data from the UK Covid dashboard in the week to 16 March. Images are for illustrative purposes only.

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