Wristwatch

Covid infection rates in Wales fall for the first time in seven weeks

Covid-19 infections have dropped simultaneously in all four UK countries for the first time since mid-January, figures show. Wales saw infections fall for the first time in seven weeks, while in Northern Ireland the prevalence of the virus has fallen to levels last seen before Christmas 2021.

England and Scotland also saw declines, suggesting the recent spike in infections caused by the Omicron BA.2 variant has peaked. However, the virus is still circulating at high levels in much of the country.

Across the UK, an estimated 3.8 million people in private households had Covid-19 in the week to April 16, up from 4.4 million the previous week. The total number of infections in the UK hit a weekly record of 4.9million at the end of March.

In England, infections fell for the second week in a row, with 3.2 million people likely to test positive for Covid-19, or one in 17 – down from 3.8 million, or one in 14. The Country of Wales recorded its first week on week fall in nearly two months, with 198,400 people estimated to have coronavirus, or one in 15 – down from 231,900, or one in 13.

Infections in Northern Ireland are falling rapidly and have returned to levels last seen in mid-December, with 65,300 people likely to have had Covid-19 in the past week, or one in 30 – down sharply from to 95,900 people, or one in 19.

Levels are not falling as sharply in Scotland, but infections have now fallen for four consecutive weeks, with 281,400 people estimated to have had the virus in the past week, around one in 19. This is down from 314,800 people , or one out of 17, the previous week.