The Office for National Statistics says there is greater uncertainty than usual in the estimates due to a low number of test results received.
Friday 9 December 2022 15:58, UK
COVID infections in England have risen for a second week in a row and the latest estimates in the UK have likely been affected by postal strikes, experts said.
The total number of people in private households in the UK testing positive for COVID stood at 1.1 million in the week to 26 November, up 8% from 1.0 million the previous week.
However, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there is greater uncertainty than usual in the estimates, as well as a longer time lag in reporting the data due to a low number of test results received “possibly” as a result of industrial action by postal workers.
The ONS said: “For all UK countries, some results may have more uncertainty and be subject to change as more test results are received for this period”.
It comes as Royal Mail workers strike today, with further walkouts scheduled in the run-up to Christmas in disputes over pay.
During the previous wave of infections in early autumn, the total peaked at just over two million in mid-October.
This was well below the peaks seen earlier in the year, when infections climbed to nearly four million in July.
Michelle Bowen, ONS head of health surveillance, said: “Infections have continued to increase across England, increased in Northern Ireland for the first time in a month and the trend in all other UK countries is now uncertain.
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“Across English regions and ages, it is a mixed picture of uncertainty and increases in infection rates, and we will continue to monitor the data carefully over the winter months.”
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Because the amount of test results received by the ONS is lower than usual, the new estimates cover different periods in the four nations and need to be treated with caution.