Covid cases rise by almost a third as variant threat level elevated

Over 15,000 people in Scotland are now thought to have the virus while experts have elevated two variants to 'concern' level in recent weeks.

Scottish Covid cases rise by almost a third as two new variants elevated to ‘concern’ level iStock
The number of Covid cases across the country has steadily increased in recent weeks.

The number of Covid-19 cases across Scotland increased by almost a third in the last week, official figures show.

More than 15,000 people were thought to have the condition in the week ending June 19 – a rise of 30.5% on the previous week’s figures.

Data from Public Health Scotland (PHS) also revealed hospital admission numbers rose from 604 to 696 in the same time period, with 20 people in intensive care.

By comparison, in 2020, 27 people returned positive tests for coronavirus on that date taking the national total number of cases to 18,104.

Around 15.5% of newly-reported cases are thought to be “reinfections,” the PHS report said.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has elevated the classification of the Covid-19 variants Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5 to variants of concern on the basis of observed growth in recent weeks.

PHS said they “continued to monitor variants of concern, in collaboration with other public health agencies in the UK”.

The majority of new cases are thought to be driven by the BA.2 variant, according to UKHSA data.

The report said the number of positive cases reduced each week since the start of May and levelled off during the second half of the month but have been steadily increasing for the past three weeks.

In the week ending June 19, the 40-49 age group had the highest proportion of reported cases, but those aged 80 and over made up he majority of the hospital admissions.

The ‘R’ number – the rate at which the virus reproduces – is thought to have remained below one during the period, but an estimate is to be updated next week.