Fall in number of Covid infections across Scotland

time:2023-06-10 22:41:10source:Al Jazeera author:Press center 1

The number of Covid infections in Scotland has fallen slightly in the last week despite a rise across the UK, according to new figures.

Last week's ONS Covid infection survey estimated that about one in 50 people had the virus on any day in the previous week.

This was down from one in 45 two weeks earlier.

But total infections in the UK have risen by 31%, the biggest percentage jump since June.

Public health expert Jillian Evans said there was a need to be cautious about interpreting small movements in data.

But she told BBC Scotland's Lunchtime Live: "We are not seeing that big increase that we are seeing in other parts of the UK."

Ms Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said it was tempting to think the numbers, which have been hovering around one in 45 to one in 55 since late August, could be levelling off.

She also told the programme Scotland was in some ways ahead of the UK trend, partly because children went back to school sooner.

Ms Evans said factors driving the overall rise included waning immunity and an increase in the number of contacts people have.

She added: "We are certainly not out of the woods. We are still talking about 2% of the population in Scotland with Covid."

Some 1.7 million people in private households across the UK are likely to have tested positive for coronavirus in the period 23 September to 3 October, according to the ONS.

This is up from 1.3 million in the previous survey, which covered the period 18 to 26 September.

It is the highest UK-wide total since late July, but is still below the 3.8 million weekly infections in early July, at the peak of the wave caused by the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants of the virus.

There is a lag in the reporting of the ONS data due to the time it takes for the survey to be compiled.

Sarah Crofts, ONS deputy director for the Covid-19 infection survey, said: "Infections have risen again across much of the United Kingdom, continuing the pattern of steady increases seen over recent weeks, although Scotland and the north-east of England had uncertain trends in the latest week.

"We have also seen another notable rise in infections amongst older age groups in England and Wales, underlining once again the need for close monitoring as we move through the colder months."

The trend in Scotland is described by the ONS as "uncertain", with 109,700 people likely to have Covid-19 in the latest survey - 2.08% of the population.

In England, the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the latest survey was 1.5 million, or around one in 35 people - up from 1.1 million, or one in 50, in the previous survey.

Wales has also seen a rise, where the latest estimate for infections is 74,900, or one in 40 people, up from 63,400, or one in 50.In Northern Ireland the latest estimate is 45,100 infections, or one in 40 people, compared with 46,100, which is also one in 40 - though the longer trend here is showing an increase.

The Scottish government said this week that 1.3 million vaccines had already been delivered to protect against the latest strains of flu and Covid-19.

Front-line healthcare staff and the most vulnerable were called up first with 80.2% of all care home residents being fully vaccinated since the rollout began in September.

The next groups - over 65s and those at high-risk - are currently being sent scheduled appointments along with 50-64-year-olds.

Anyone who has missed an appointment can reschedule through the NHS Inform online booking portal.

Over 50s in England are now able to book their Covid booster and flu jabs and over-50s in Wales and Northern Ireland are already eligible for both jabs.

Ms Evans said taking up the offer of a jab was "massively" important.

"The great news is that of the cohorts vaccinated so far, uptake has been tremendous," she said.

"In the general population demand is there, and you will get those letters to book towards the end of this month.

"There has been high uptake of those who have been invited so far, let's hope that continues."

The Covid-19 vaccine is being given at the same time as the flu jab where possible, and so far 94% of those invited have had both at the same appointment.

More than two million Scots will be offered both vaccines over the next three months.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "Scotland remains steadfast in the effort to protect everyone - continuing the huge success of the vaccination programme since it was first rolled out in December 2020.

"Covid-19 has not gone away and I call on everyone to take up the offer of a booster as soon as their invitation arrives to protect themselves, their families and the NHS."

On Thursday, latest figures showed that despite cases rising, the number of people dying from coronavirus in Scotland had fallen.

Data from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed that Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of 161 people who died in September compared with 213 in August.

Those living in the most deprived areas were most at risk.

Throughout the pandemic, the highest rate of Covid-related deaths was in April 2020 when 2,413 people died.

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