COVID infections on the rise in England, survey shows

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff wearing protective clothing take a patient off a ambulance at St Thomas' hospital as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - There has likely been a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive for COVID-19 and in the overall incidence of infections in recent weeks, Britain’s Office for National Statistics said on Friday.

The weekly infection survey said an estimated 1 in 1,500 individuals had COVID-19 in the most recent week from July 20-26, compared to 1 in 2,000 the previous week.

“Modelling of the rate of new infections over time suggests that there is now some evidence that the incidence of new infections has increased in recent weeks,” the ONS said.

The survey, which looks at estimated infections in the community, did not provide enough evidence to say whether COVID-19 infection rates differ by region, the ONS said.

Britain imposed tougher lockdowns across swathes of northern England on after a rise in the rate of coronavirus transmissions, as it hopes local measures to see off outbreaks can avert a second wave that demands national action.

Official daily data on Thursday showed 846 new positive tests in Britain - the highest number of daily infections since June 28.

The ONS said that between July 20-26 there were an estimated 4,200 new cases per day in the community, or 0.78 new COVID-19 infections per 10,000 people, up from an estimated 2,800 new cases a day the previous week.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle