Covid-19 infection rates have dropped for the first time in seven weeks in Scotland

Around one in 19 Scots were estimated to have had the virus in the week ending July 20, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed. 

This is the equivalent to 272,000 people or 5.17 per cent of the population. 

It is a significant change from the previous week when around 1 in 15 people was estimated to be positive for Covid-19 or 340,900 Scots.

Infection rates have also dropped in England and Wales, but Northern Ireland now has the UK's highest infections per population after it was the only nation to see a rise in prevalence.  

In England, around one in 20 people were estimated to have the virus, while in Wales it was one in 19 and one in 16 in Northern Ireland.

In total, some 3.2 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 20. Cases were therefore down by 16% from 3.8 million in the previous week. 

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Sarah Crofts, ONS head of analytical outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “Our most recent data suggest that we may now be over the peak of the latest wave of infections across the UK, although rates still remain among the highest seen during the course of the pandemic.

“We have seen welcome decreases among most parts of the UK and in all age groups. With summer holidays starting and more people travelling, we will continue to closely monitor the data.”

Meanwhile, the latest National Records of Scotland figures show that there were 92 deaths involving Covid-19 in the week to July 24, which was eight more than the previous week.

As of July 24, there have been 15,274 deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 have continued to drive the majority of infections in the UK, with the latter accounting for 77.7% of all sequenced infections in the week ending July 17.