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Half of coronavirus cases in the UK could be the new variant of the disease, new data show, amid a ‘sharp’ increase in the spread of the virus.
In England 49 per cent of newly-diagnosed cases could be the VUI-202012/01 variant, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The Nervtag advisory group has said it was “highly confident” that the new variant is more transmissible, which led to the introduction of stringent ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions for millions of Britons across the south and south-east of England.
The latest ONS data also suggest positive cases are increasingly “sharply” across swathes of the UK, with one in 85 people in England now testing positive – rising to one in 60 in Wales.
London now has the highest rate of people testing positive, with an estimated 2.1 per cent of people in private households testing positive for the virus.
It comes as a scientist who sits on the Government’s SAGE advisory board said that people intending to see their families tomorrow should “reconsider” their plans in light of the new variant.
Dame Anne Johnson, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London, told the BBC that those wanting to see households as part of ‘Christmas bubbles’ tomorrow should “think very carefully”.
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Secondary school children see highest infection rates of Covid-19, new figures show
Secondary school children are the age group where Covid-19 is most rampant, the latest official statistics show as pressure grows on ministers to close schools, writes Steve Bird.
Rates of infection among youngsters in Year 7 to Year 11 is the highest among the entire population, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show.
When modelling the level of infection among those children aged between 11 and 16 it was calculated that just under three per cent had coronavirus.
The research has compounded fears the new UK strain of Covid-19 is spreading fastest among children.
Throughout England one in 85 people have the virus, a level described by one professor as “worryingly high”.
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