Covid-19 in the UK: All today’s key data

A large amount of Covid-19 data is being published on Thursday ahead of Christmas, including the latest infection levels, antibody estimates, absences for hospital staff and local vaccine take-up, along with the usual daily numbers for cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

Here is a summary of the data that has been published so far:

– Covid-19 antibodies

Covid-19 antibody levels among adults in the UK are estimated to have reached a record high.

Some 95.0% of the adult population of England is likely to have tested positive for antibodies in the week beginning November 29, along with 95.0% in Scotland, 95.3% in Northern Ireland and 93.6% in Wales according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

These are the highest figures for all four nations since the ONS began estimating antibody levels in December 2020.

There has been an increase in antibody positivity in those aged 65 years and over across the UK since early October 2021, which the ONS said was “likely as a result of the vaccination booster programme”.

The figures do not include people in hospital, care homes or other communal establishments.

– Hospital staff absences

A total of 3,874 NHS staff at acute hospital trusts in London were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 19, more than double the number a week earlier (1,540) and more than three times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new figures from NHS England.

The total includes staff who were ill with Covid-19 or who were having to self-isolate.

Across England as a whole, 18,829 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent due to Covid-19 reasons on December 19, up 54% from 12,240 a week earlier and up 51% from 12,508 at the start of the month.

Ambulance handover delays

One in five patients waited at least half an hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff at hospitals in England last week.

A total of 16,410 delays of 30 minutes or more were recorded across all acute trusts in the week to December 19, representing 20% of all arrivals, according to NHS England figures.

This is down slightly from 23% of arrivals in the week to December 12.

Some seven per cent of arrivals last week (6,124) took more than 60 minutes to be handed over to A&E teams, down from 10% in the previous week.

A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department, but staff were not available to complete the handover.

Analysis by the PA news agency shows that University Hospitals Birmingham reported the highest number of ambulance handover delays of more than 30 minutes in the week to December 19 (760), followed by Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals (523), North West Anglia (489), University Hospitals of Leicester (449) and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston (440).

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