ore than 125,000 Londoners may have have coronavirus last week, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Based on its testing of a random sample of the population, the statistics agency estimated that approximately 1.4 per cent of the city’s 8.96 million inhabitants — 125,440 people — would have tested positive in the week from December 6 to 12.
It means that London would have accounted for more than a fifth of infections in England during the period.
According to the latest ONS Coronavirus Infection Survey published on Friday, an estimated 567,300 people in private homes in England had coronavirus between December 6 and 12.
This is up from the 481,500 people who were estimated to have Covid-19 the week before — an increase of 88 per cent.
However it is still less than the peak of an estimated 664,700 people between November 8 and 16.
The survey also shows the proportion of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in eastern England, the East Midlands and south-east England.
The East Midlands has the highest rate, with an estimated 1.4 per cent of people in private households testing positive for Covid-19, with London also at 1.4 per cent and north-east England at 1.2 per cent.
The survey suggests the percentage of people testing positive is rising in all four nations in the UK.
In Northern Ireland an estimated 8,500 people had Covid-19 between December 6 and 12, or 0.47 per cent of the population, up from 0.43 per cent, while in Wales an estimated 33,400 people in private households had Covid-19 – the equivalent of 1.10 per cent of the population, up from 0.84 per cent.
In Scotland an estimated 52,500 people had Covid-19, or 1.00 per cent of the population – up from 43,300 people, or 0.82 per cent.
Rates have continued to decrease in north-west England and Yorkshire and the Humber.
South-west England has the lowest rate at 0.4 per cent.
The figures do not include people staying in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.
Katherine Kent, co-head of analysis for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “Data from last week shows an increase in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in England, with a sharp increase in London and increases in the east of England, east Midlands and the South East.
“Rates in the North, which has until recently had the highest infection levels, continue to decline.
“Across the UK, infections appear to be increasing in both Wales and Scotland, in Northern Ireland the percentage of people testing positive appears to no longer be decreasing.”