The number of weekly coronavirus deaths registered in England and Wales has risen to its highest level since mid-February.
A total of 780 deaths registered in the seven days ended March 25 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is a 14 percent increase from the previous week and follows several weeks in which deaths appeared to have leveled off.
Coronavirus infections have been on the rise across the UK since early March, fueled by the Omicron BA.2 variant, and the prevalence of the virus is currently at a record high.
The latest numbers could signal the start of a new uptrend.
It comes as all Covid restrictions were lifted in the UK and free lateral flow tests were no longer available to most people, prompting widespread criticism of the government.
During the previous wave of infections earlier this year, caused by the original Omicron variant, registered Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales peaked at 1,484 in the week ending 21 January
However, that was well below the 8,433 deaths recorded at the peak of the second virus wave in the week ending January 29, 2021.
The relatively low number of deaths in recent months reflects the success of the vaccination program, particularly the introduction of booster doses late last year.
A new campaign is now underway to give people aged 75 and over, residents of care homes for the elderly and those aged 12 and over who are immunocompromised a ‘spring booster’ – a fourth dose of the vaccine.
Fourth doses of the vaccine can be given to people at least six months after their last vaccination.
The British healthcare system is in crisis – experts warn
Figures released by the ONS last Friday showed the prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK is at a record high, with an estimated 4.9 million infections in the week to March 26.
The number of hospitalized patients in the UK with coronavirus is close to the total reached earlier this year, but is still well below levels seen in the second wave in early 2021 – again reflecting the impact of vaccine roll-out.
In all, there have now been 190,053 deaths in the UK, where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, the ONS said.
The consulting physician Dr. Dan Goyal said the public needs to be aware that Covid is still one of the biggest killers in Britain.
“The government called it [Covid] over is a typical reaction we’re used to from this government where they tell us a reality and we have to try to live with it, but the actual reality is very different,” said Dr. goyal LatestPageNews.
“We have the ability to quell Covid but the massive pressure on the NHS not to do so at this time is affecting everyone and everyone who needs care in the NHS. We’ve seen the waiting lists, we’ve seen the emergency supplies crisis, and I think this government is just promoting the responsibility to do everything by telling us it’s over.
“The reality is – if you speak to anyone on the ground – the health situation in this country is in crisis and having 20,000 people hospitalized with Covid and killing hundreds of people a week is not helping.”
The surge comes as the NHS has updated its Covid information page and added nine new official symptoms of the virus as free testing for most of the population is scrapped.
The healthcare provider previously listed three official symptoms; a high temperature, a new persistent cough, and a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste.
There are now 12 symptoms in total, with the NHS adding shortness of breath, feeling more tired than usual, body aches, loss of appetite, diarrhea and feeling or being sick.
Updating the official symptom list, a UKHSA spokesman said: “The main symptoms remain fever, a new or persistent cough and/or loss of taste and smell. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have recognized that COVID-19 has a much longer list of symptoms. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, sore throat, headache, nasal congestion and runny nose have been included in government guidelines since 2020.”