Infections fall in Wales after Christmas Covid spike
Covid infections in Wales have fallen following the spike reported by the Office For National Statistics over the Christmas period.
The number of people with the virus jumped 200% In the seven days up to 28 December but have declined by more than 9% in the week ending 3 January.
The ONS estimates the number of people testing positive for Covid was 157,000, down from 173,200 last week, equating to 5.16% of the population (a decrease from 5.70% last week or around 1 in 19 people.
Weekly infections also fell in England, while Scotland recorded an increase.
The trend is described as uncertain in Northern Ireland.
Total Covid-19 infections in the UK are also down, offering fresh evidence the current wave may have peaked.
There has also been an “encouraging” decrease in the number of patients in hospital with the virus.
A rise in Covid-19 patients in the run-up to Christmas was one of a number of factors mentioned by health chiefs as creating extra pressures on the NHS, along with bed shortages, staff sickness and a surge in flu cases.
Some 2.7 million people in private households in the UK were likely to test positive for coronavirus at the start of this month, down from 3.0 million over Christmas, according to the ONS.
Prevalence of the virus in Scotland remains the highest since July 2022, with 219,600 people likely to have had Covid-19 at the new year, up from 213,100 at Christmas, equating to one in 25 people.
The latest estimate for England is 2.2 million infections, down from 2.5 million, also one in 25 people, while in Northern Ireland, infections are estimated to be 129,100, compared with 118,100 at Christmas or one in 14.
The current wave of coronavirus looks to have peaked at a level below those seen in previous outbreaks.
Infections climbed as high as 4.3 million last winter during the spread of the Omicron variant, but this was topped a few months later during the wave caused by the Omicron BA.2/3 subvariants, when infections reached a record 4.9 million.
The rate of Covid-19 hospital admissions in Wales, England and Scotland are also starting to drop, while in Northern Ireland the trend is currently unclear.
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “These early signs that Covid-19 infection levels may be in decline are encouraging and welcome, but we cannot be complacent.
“We’re heading in the right direction, but Covid-19 is still circulating at high levels and hospital admissions remain high in the oldest age groups, so it is particularly important that everyone who is eligible continues to come forward to accept their booster jab.”
The ONS infection survey is the most reliable measure of the prevalence of coronavirus and is based on a sample of swab tests from households across the UK.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.