Just over half of Scots are believed to have contracted Covid-19 over a period of almost 18 months during the pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said an estimated 2.7 million people in Scotland – the equivaled of 51.5% of the population – have had the virus at some point between September 22, 2020, and February 11, 2022.
Meanwhile, almost three quarters (72.2%) of people in Northern Ireland are estimated to have had the virus between July 27, 2020, to February 11, 2022, the ONS found, compared to an estimated 70.7% of the population in England between April 27, 2020, to February 11, 2022, and 56% of people in Wales between June 30, 2020, to February 11, 2022.
With the figures for the different nations covering slightly different periods, the ONS stressed that the findings were not directly comparable.
Details of the research, from the ONS’s ongoing coronavirus infection survey, were released as separate data showed the proportion of Scots believed to have the virus had fallen again over the last week.
It is estimated that 281,400 people – the equivalent of one in 19 of the population in Scotland – had coronavirus in the week ending Saturday April 16, the ONS stated.
That compares to the one in 11 Scots who were said to have Covid in the week ending March 20.
Duncan Cook, the deputy director for the Covid-19 infection survey at the ONS, said the latest weekly figures had shown a “welcome decrease in infections across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland”, while there was a drop in infection levels in Wales “for the first time in several weeks”.
But Mr Cook added: “Despite the decrease in infections, it’s important to note that levels remain high. We continue to monitor these going forward.
“According to the ONS data, around one in 17 people in England are believed to have had Covid in the week ending April 16, compared to one in 15 in Wales and one in 30 in Northern Ireland.