The substantial increase – up from an estimated one in 20 pupils the previous week – suggests that the spread of Covid through secondary schools is far outpacing the government's vaccination programme.

The ONS survey, based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, showed an overall increase in Covid infections in England from one in 85 people to one in 70 in the week ending 2 October.

Covid cases fell in recent weeks in Scotland and Northern Ireland with an "uncertain" trend in Wales, the ONS survey found.

Prof Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said the latest results in secondary school-age children were "concerning".

More than one-third of those vaccinated so far are children who are clinically vulnerable or living with people who are vulnerable who were prioritised for vaccination earlier in the summer.

The implication is that herd immunity is starting to have a role in that age group through natural infection."

sarah crofts, head of analytical outputs for the ons covid-19 infection survey, said : "there is a mixed picture of infection trends across the uk once again, with the largest increase seen in england.

Covid vaccine: Several vulnerable groups are now receiving their first Covid boosters (Image: GETTY)

"This has been largely driven by a notable increase among secondary school pupils, likely reflecting their return to school in September."

it comes after king's college london scientists estimated 786,300 people in england had the virus on october 2, up 19.4 per cent on the previous weekly figure.

Separate data from the UK Health Security Agency ( HSA ) today showed the the R rate might still be above one and has increased slightly to between a range of 0.9 and 1.1.

Some 45,107,185 were second doses, an increase of 28,656.

The graph shows the estimated daily percentage testing positive among different age groups in England from August 22 to October 2. Infection rates are a mixed picture across the country, with cases rising among two to 11-year-olds, 35 to 49-year-olds and

But infection rates in pupils is a mixed picture, as other figures suggest infections may have already peaked in youngsters.

Cases were also higher than the national average ( 1.4 per cent ) in the North East and North West, where 1.7 per cent of people were infected on any given day last week.

For Scotland, the ONS estimates around one in 60 people had Covid in the week to October 2, down from one in 55 the previous week.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 were estimated to have coronavirus.

Data from the UK Health Security Agency (HSA) today showed the the R rate might still be above one and has increased slightly to between a range of 0.9 and 1.1

The figure is unchanged from the previous week, remaining the highest since the week to December 23.

in northern ireland, the latest estimate is one in 130, down from one in 65 the previous week.

Across England, the percentage of people infected is estimated to have increased in all regions except the East, where the trend is uncertain, the ONS said.

Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to 2 October, at around one in 55.

london and eastern england had the lowest at around one in 90 people, according to ons data.

Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline some of the fall in the 10 to 14-year-old age group could be due to the start of immunisation in the age group.

Current policy continues to ignore those without vaccines, including young children, as well as the clinically vulnerable.

Both death and hospital numbers lag a few weeks behind cases due to the time it takes for infection to turn into serious illness.

The ONS said rates have increased for those in school years seven to 11, people aged 35 to 49 and those aged 70 and over.

"I'm certainly not suggesting school closures or anything like that, but I don't think it's an option to do nothing."

Unison's assistant general secretary Jon Richards said masks and school bubbles needed to be reintroduced and the vaccine rollout to 12 to 15-year-olds sped up.

Coronavirus infections are on the rise in all regions of England except one, the Office for National Statistics has said.

The graph shows ONS estimates for the proportion of people testing positive in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland from August 7 to October 2. In the most recent week, cases in England soared by a fifth, stayed flat in Wales and fell in Northern

The latest data shows the percentage of people testing positive was highest in secondary school children.

In that category, 6.93 % of children tested positive for Covid-19, more than 1 in 15, compared to 4.58 % in the previous week.

In comparison, during the winter peak in December last year, the percentage of pupils testing positive for Covid was below 4 %.

The ONS last reported one in 70 people infected with Covid-19 in the week ending August 27, before children in England returned to school.

All figures are for people in private households.

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