Wales’ Coronavirus rates among lowest in UK as experts warn ‘the pandemic is not over’
Coronavirus rates in Wales are currently among the lowest in the UK according to new figures released by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA).
The 10 areas with the lowest infection rates in the UK are all in Wales, with Swansea seeing the lowest rate of 325 positive tests per 100,000 people.
However, Merthyr Tydfil was among the places across the UK seeing the largest weekly increase with cases in the area rising by 51%, while the rates on Anglesey rose by 31%.
UKHSA figures in the week to 27 March, which are based on official testing data, show that the rate of people testing positive for the virus rose in 185 of the UK’s 380 local authority areas, while rates fell in a further 193 areas.
Figures from the UKHSA only include those who report themselves as testing positive, whereas the figures from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) weekly infection survey extrapolates the results of swabs of tens of thousands of people and are thought to provide a more accurate picture.
The latest ONS figures, published on Friday, suggest that 4.9 million people, which is the equivalent to one in 13 people, were infected with Covid-19 in the week to last Saturday.
These figures are echoed in the Zoe Covid study, which is based on self-reported data from members of the public, which estimates that nearly 4.5 million people currently have symptomatic coronavirus.
The Omicron variant BA.2 is driving the latest surge leading to the highest level of infection on record.
Of the 10 areas with the highest infection rates, nine were in Scotland, while all but six of the top 100 increases were seen in England. However, eight of the 10 largest week-on-week falls in case rates were also seen in Scotland.
Further collection of infection data will no longer be possible as last week saw the end of routine testing in Wales, with all PCR testing sites closing and the end of free lateral flow tests for asymptomatic people.
Health and social care workers will still have access to free lateral flow testing twice a week but from Friday, April 1 only those eligible for Covid-19 treatments can order PCR tests for at home.
Routine asymptomatic testing in childcare and education settings, except special education provision, will stop at the end of the term on April 8.
A UKHSA spokesperson said: “As we learn to live with Covid, we are encouraging people to keep following simple steps to help keep themselves and others safe.
“The pandemic is not over. Covid still poses a real risk to many of us, particularly with case rates and hospitalisations on the rise.
“That is why it is sensible to wear a mask in enclosed spaces, keep indoor spaces ventilated and stay away from others if you have any symptoms of a respiratory illness, including Covid.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect us all from severe disease and hospitalisation due to Covid infection.
“If you have not yet come forward for your primary or booster you should do so straight away – the sooner you are vaccinated the sooner you and your family and friends will be protected.”
Here are the areas with the 10 highest and 10 lowest infection rates, according to UKHSA data, as of 27 March:
Local authority | Number of cases | Infection rate (per 100,000 people)
- Na h-Eileanan Siar – 768 – 2,898
- Shetland Islands – 374 – 1,635
- South Ayrshire – 1,815 – 1,618
- North Ayrshire – 2,127 – 1,584
- East Ayrshire – 1,899 – 1,561
- Falkirk – 2,505 – 1,560
- Renfrewshire – 2,683 – 1,495
- Inverclyde – 1,128 – 1,463
- North Devon – 1,432 – 1,458
- West Dunbartonshire – 1,275 – 1,443
- Swansea – 802 – 325
- Neath Port Talbot – 486 – 336
- Conwy – 412 – 348
- Bridgend – 564 – 382
- Ceredigion – 285 – 391
- Powys – 533 – 400
- Gwynedd – 509 – 406
- Carmarthenshire – 798 – 419
- Flintshire – 671 – 427
- Caerphilly – 778 – 428
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.