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When the world finally took a sigh of relief from the deadly coronavirus, the pandemic took a turn for the worse in some countries. The UK, US, South Korea, China, and other Southeast Asian countries experienced an exponential rise in daily infections. But the latest news suggests infection rates in the UK have hit a new high, with nearly one in every 13 persons infected in the last week,
According to the Office for National Statistics, 4.9 million people were infected with the coronavirus in the week ending March 26, up from 4.3 million the week before. The highly transmissible omicron form BA.2, which is the most common in the UK, is to blame for the recent spike.
Although the number of patients dying from COVID-19 is still low compared to earlier this year, hospitalization and death rates are rising again. Nonetheless, the most recent estimates show that the sharp increase in new infections that began in late February, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, persisted well into March.
The figures were released on the same day that the government announced that most people in England would no longer be able to get free rapid COVID-19 tests as part of Johnson's 'living with COVID plan. People who do not have a health condition that makes them more susceptible to the coronavirus must now pay for testing to determine whether they are infected.
Globally, Covid-10 cases have increased to 490.6 million, while coronavirus deaths have surged to more than 6.15 million. Meanwhile, the WHO (World Health Organization) has flagged the new variant of coronavirus, which is believed to be more contagious.
According to the WHO, a new variant of the Omicron strain designated XE after its discovery in the United Kingdom appears to be more transmissible than prior coronavirus strain. According to early reports, the XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2) has a 10% community growth rate advantage over the BA.2 variety. However, more research is needed to back up the findings, according to the organization.
(With inputs from agencies)
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