One in 15 people had covid in England last week, according to the ONS
An estimated 3.2 million people in England are thought to have had the virus in the last week of 2021
An astonishing 3.2 million people in England had covid-19 in the seven days to December 31 - up from 2.3 million the week prior.
The latest survey from the Office for National Statistics estimates one in 15 people in England were infected in the final week of 2021. The figure is thought to be one in 20 in Wales and Scotland, while one in 25 people are thought to have had covid in Northern Ireland.
This morning, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced it was axing follow-up PCR tests for asymptomatic people who test positive for covid. The testing rules will be eased from January 11.
Currently, anyone who receives a positive result on a lateral flow test, needs to get a follow-up PCR to confirm the results.
The change will cut isolation time for people not experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, as they will no longer be required to factor in the times taken to receive a positive PCR test. It's hoped the change will ease staff shortages and potential shutdown of vital services, as employers struggle to cope with staff absences.
Earlier today, The Guardian reported the Fire Brigade Union had said a fire station was left without firefighters on December 28, due to shortages caused by the Omicron variant.
FBU says a fire station was left with no firefighters on Dec 28 because of Omicron and multiple other stations have been left with fire engines unavailable due to staff shortages.
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) January 5, 2022
Customers are also being told to expect delays on rail services, as train companies experience a shortage of available drivers.
There are currently no services running on Southern rail into London Victoria due to staff absences.
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