The FINANCIAL — In the week ending 6 January 2022, 9.81% of people in the North West tested positive for COVID-19 , whereas the lowest percentage of people testing positive was in the South West, with 4.18% of the population testing positive.
During this period, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 continued to increase across all regions of England, except London and the East of England.
In the East of England, the percentage testing positive continued to increase in the two weeks up to 6 January 2022, but the trend was uncertain in the most recent week. In London, the percentage of people testing positive decreased in the most recent week.
The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 was highest in the North West in the week ending 6 January 2022
More than 96% of the population have COVID-19 antibodies
In England, it is estimated that 97.5% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 97.0% to 97.9%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the week beginning 20 December 2021.
In Wales, an estimated 96.8% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 95.9% to 97.5%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.
In Northern Ireland, it is estimated that 97.4% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 96.0% to 98.2%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.
In Scotland, it is estimated that 97.7% of the adult population (95% credible interval: 97.1% to 98.2%) would have tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the same week.
Academic research on antibody thresholds using data from when the Delta variant was the dominant strain indicate that a higher threshold of antibodies is needed to provide protection from new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections for those who are vaccinated.
It is estimated that more than 88% of the population had antibodies at or above the higher threshold.
The COVID-19 vaccination booster programme was likely leading the rapid increase in antibodies above the higher threshold seen in older age groups.
3% of workers absent because of coronavirus in late December
In late December 2021, approximately 3% of the workforce were estimated to be on sick leave or not working because of coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, self-isolation or quarantine. This is the highest the figure has been since comparable estimates began in June 2020.
The other service activities industry, which includes hairdressing and other beauty treatments, reported the highest absence levels (7%) in late December 2021. The accommodation and food service activities industry also reported high absence levels (6%), driven by the accommodation sub-industry.
These industries also saw the largest movement in percentages from early to late December 2021, increasing by 5 and 4 percentage points respectively.
The other service activities industry reported the highest proportion of the workforce on sick leave or not working because of coronavirus, at 7% in late December 2021
UK coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths decreased
The number of deaths in the UK involving coronavirus (COVID-19) fell in the final week of 2021. However, registrations were affected by the Christmas and Boxing Day bank holidays, when registration services were closed.
In the week ending 31 December 2021, there were 640 deaths involving COVID-19. This accounted for around 1 in every 15 deaths (6.5%) and was a decrease in the number of COVID-19 deaths compared with the previous week.
There were 9,796 total deaths registered in the UK in the last week of 2021, which was 5.4% above the five-year average.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 fell in both England and Wales in the week ending 31 December 2021.
Between 13 March 2020 and 31 December 2021, there have been 134,914 excess deaths above the five-year average in England and Wales; of these, 129,178 were in England, and 6,991 were in Wales.
More than 9 in 10 travellers arriving into the UK have had at least one vaccine dose
In November 2021, more than 9 in 10 travellers interviewed arriving into the UK had received at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. This data is collected by the International Passenger Survey from a sample of travellers arriving into the UK through UK airports and Dover ferries.
Among those interviewed arriving into the UK, 92% of UK residents and 93% of overseas residents said that they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Older UK residents interviewed arriving into the UK are still more likely to have been vaccinated than younger UK residents, aligning with the progress of the vaccine rollout in the UK.