Around one in 260 people in England tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week, a rise sparked by the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus, the government’s official statistics agency has said.

The number of infections during the last week is higher than the previous seven days, when only one in 440 contracted Covid-19, according to the latest analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Friday.

In its weekly coronavirus infection survey, the ONS said there were also rises in prevalence in Scotland, where one in 150 people tested positive for Covid-19, and in Wales, where one in 450 tested positive.

There has also been a 46% rise in the number of Delta cases in England compared to the previous week, after a further 161,000 confirmed and probable infections were recorded this week, Public Health England said on Friday.

The figures come as the government is considering lifting many of England’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions on July 19, though Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “extra precautions” may still be needed.

A government announcement on lifting lockdown is reportedly due next week.

On Thursday, nearly 28,000 new Covid infections were reported across the UK, as well as 22 deaths within 28 days of a positive test result.

However, Johnson has said that due to more people becoming vaccinated, the recent rise in cases was “not translating into a big increase in serious illness and deaths.”

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