The UK now has the highest number of new Covid-19 cases of any G7 country relative to its population. The latest figures show Britain had 750 cases per million people on 12 December – above France (723), Germany (588) and the US (353).
The case rate is partly down to the UK testing more than some countries. It ranks around the middle of the G7 for the share of Covid tests that are positive (4.5 per cent). Around 21 per cent of tests in Germany and 10.5 per cent of US tests are positive, meaning that there are likely additional Covid-19 cases that are being missed.
Despite the recent rise in UK cases triggered by the emergence of the Omicron variant, the number of patients admitted to hospital has remained steady although the total is now expected to rise. There were 7,413 patients in hospital on 9 December, up slightly from 7,406 a week earlier.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has said that 10 people with the new variant have been hospitalised and one patient is confirmed to have died from Omicron. Modelling by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has projected 24,700 deaths by May, if the boosters are effective but the government puts in place no further restrictions.