New figures suggest that more than 15% of people in England are thought to have had COVID-19.

A survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown that one in seven people are believed to have had coronavirus since mid-January 2021.

This number is up from one in nine in December 2020 and one in 11 people in November.

Regional figures have also been unveiled and shown that London is the worst hit area with 21% of households believed to become infected.

The West Midlands was in second place with 18.8%, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber 18.7%.

South-west England is thought to have the lowest numbers with 8.3%.

Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said he believes the UK is “past the peak” but infection rates remain high.

He said that that the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths were on a “downward slope”.

Despite this the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the NHS is still under “huge pressure”.

Speaking at Downing Street briefing, Mr Johnson said: “Though today there are some signs of hope – the numbers of Covid patients in hospital are beginning to fall for the first time since the onset of this new wave – the level of infection is still alarmingly high.

It is hoped schools in England will reopen on March 8, and Mr Johnson has ruled out sending children back any earlier.

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