ONE in 16 people in Scotland have Covid, as the Omicron variant drives a spate of re-infections with “no sign” of relenting.

The latest report on the virus by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that around 334,000 people had been positive for coronavirus in the week ending July 7, an equivalent to one in 16 people in the population.

This is up from 312,800 people, or one in 17, being infected by the virus in the preceding week.

Scotland’s infection rates remain higher than the rest of the UK but Covid cases have notably spiked in Wales and Northern Ireland. By comparison to other UK nations, Scotland’s Covid case estimates have been rising at a slower rate.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland currently have infection rates of one in 17, up from one in 20 and one in 19 respectively. Meanwhile, in England, it is estimated one in 19 people were positive for the virus in the week ending July 6 – increasing from one in 25.

Across the UK these rises have meant infections have spiked by nearly 800,000 in a week

READ MORE: Nearly as many UK Covid deaths caused by 'milder' Omicron variant as Delta

Sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 have continued to drive the majority of the cases in the most recent wave.

While still far from the late March peak of one in 11 returning a positive result, the infection rates are showing “no signs of decreasing”.

Sarah Crofts, ONS head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 infection survey, said: “Infections are showing no signs of decreasing, with rates approaching levels last seen in March at the peak of the BA.2 wave.

“Rates have continued to increase across the UK and among all age groups. We will continue to closely monitor the data.”

 When broken down into single ages the trend for infections remains uncertain in Scotland, but the most recent figures showed infections were at their highest rates for those in their 60s and their 20s.

Infection rates were slightly lower for those between those ages and were still dropping off significantly for the over-80s.

While the recent ONS survey did not break down infection rates by regions, recent Public Health Scotland data showed that Midlothian, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire were the three local authorities with the highest infection rates. 

However, the figures, which are still based on overall confirmed tests, are likely to underestimate infections compared to the ONS data.

The number of patients in Scotland’s hospitals has also reflected the rising infection rates.

Patient numbers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently around three-quarters of the peak reached during the BA.2 wave earlier this year.

The PHS data from showed that on average there were 1669 patients in hospital with the virus in the week ending July 10.

However, new Covid admissions to hospital were down week-on-week in this period – from 1170 to 990.

The majority of patients who test positive for Covid-19 in the UK are now being treated primarily for something else, rather than the virus.

Isolating them from the remainder of patients without the virus continues to put a strain on the NHS, especially accompanied by staff absences.

The UK’s full Covid-19 death toll was confirmed earlier this week as having passed 200,000.

A total of 200,247 people have now had coronavirus recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began, according to the ONS.

This includes all instances where Covid-19 has been mentioned on someone’s death certificate, either as a main cause of death or a contributory factor.