The Covid dashboard shows new infections have dropped on last week, although data from the ZOE study estimates that infections are actually on the rise but are not being picked up by the official figures
The UK has recorded 254 new Covid deaths and 84,053 cases, although experts believe the real number of fresh infections may be twice as high.
The figures are down on last Friday, when 89,176 cases and 277 deaths were logged on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.
It comes after the UK recorded its biggest single-day rise in fatalities in 11 months on Wednesday, when 534 deaths were announced.
The Covid dashboard shows that cases have been steadily declining since the start of the year, when infections reached an all-time high due to the Omicron variant.
However experts have warned Brits to remain cautious as there are signs that infections are on the rise again.
Data from the ZOE study, which collects PCR and lateral flow test (LFT) results, estimates cases have increased by 22% since last week.
Daily infections are at almost 200,000 and the current R value is at 1.1 for England, Scotland and Wales, according to the study.
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The figures differ from the Covid dashboard because people are not required to report their positive lateral flow test results, meaning they are not logged in the official tally, according to Professor Tim Spector.
Professor Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said: “While the bad news is we are again approaching 200,000 new cases a day, it’s encouraging that recorded hospitalisations, ICU cases and deaths are still coming down as Omicron is less severe in a vaccinated population.
“With a lag of several weeks between infections and hospitalisations, we’ll continue to monitor this rate closely in the coming weeks.
“We saw a similar rebound and second peak during the Delta wave as people relaxed more and children went back to school.
“It seems many are, again, preempting the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s much too early for this. High case rates will likely be with us until late spring before the warmer weather and the summer holidays help reduce infections again.
“Over the past few weeks, the UK government’s confirmed cases data has begun to move further away from ZOE’s findings.
“LFTs no longer have to be confirmed by a PCR so are often not being logged with the government, so confirmed case data is missing thousands of LFT results, leading to massive under-reporting.”
The increase comes after the Government lifted its Plan B measures in England on January 26.
This meant mask-wearing on public transport and in shops was no longer mandatory.
Working from home guidance was also lifted and mandatory Covid passes at nightclubs were scrapped.
The ZOE study data now shows there are currently 195,069 new daily symptomatic coronavirus cases in the UK on average, which is an increase of 22 per cent from 159,486 reported last week.
Of those, those who were vaccinated with at least two doses made up 71,477 of the new daily symptomatic cases in the UK, up from 54,992 new daily cases last week.
The study also shows that in England 1 in 27 have covid, with 1 in 38 in Wales and 1 in 40 in Scotland.
It also reveals that cases are now rising in all age groups, but the rise is much smaller in the 55+ age groups, particularly in the older, more vulnerable 75+ group, the increase is very small.
According to the data, ZOE estimates that 40 per cent of people experiencing new “cold-like” symptoms are likely to have symptomatic Covid.