WALES is currently experiencing  “a surge” of coronavirus infections, with around one in 20 people testing positive, according to new figures.

Chief medical officer for Wales, Sir Frank Atherton, warned that Wales was currently in “a surge situation”, after the new Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 were identified in Wales.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics – published on Friday, July 8 – show Wales has an estimated 4.93 per cent of the population testing positive for covid in the seven days up to June 29.

This has seen a dramatic upwards trend over the past few weeks, with an estimated 3.49 per cent of the Welsh population is testing positive for Covid – or just under one in every 29 people – in the week up to June 24, and 2.25 per cent of the Welsh population – or one in every 44 people – testing positive the week before.

The figures are the highest they have been in Wales since 5.67 per cent of the population were estimated to have tested positive in the seven days up to April 23.

England currently has the lowest percentage of its population testing positive, according to the ONS figures, with 3.95 per cent – or one in 25 people.

In Northern Ireland, 5.36 per cent, or around one in 18 people, have tested positive over the week up to June 24, while that figure is 5.94 – or around one in 17 – in Scotland.

“We are in a surge situation at the moment,” said Sir Frank. “The BA.4 and BA.5 variants have arrived here in Wales and we’re seeing increased cases in our communities and some hospitalisation.

“Vaccines remain one of our most important defences and anybody who’s eligible for a spring booster should really get that as soon as they, certainly by the end of this month.

“We’re also, in Wales, extending the offer of free testing for anybody who has the cardinal symptoms of coronavirus. That’s high fever, a new cough, or a loss of sense of smell or taste. Anybody with those symptoms can access coronavirus testing so that will help them to self-isolate.

“Self-isolation is really the most important point. Anybody who has any symptoms or respiratory infection during this surge or indeed into the winter should really think about isolating themselves so they don’t pass the virus on to other people.

“Also, as we go into the winter months, everybody should consider those things that we’ve learned over the last two-and-a-half years that keep us safe and stop transmission.

“Maintaining social distancing, wearing face coverings when we’re in crowded public places and certainly wearing face coverings in health and social care settings, remain very, very important.”