Wales is recording its highest rate of new cases of Covid-19 since comparable records began, as the third wave of coronavirus continues to surge across the nation, new figures show.
A total of 20,806 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 23 – the equivalent of 656.4 cases per 100,000 people.
This is higher than at any point since mass testing was introduced in the UK in summer 2020.
It is also up sharply from 536.1 cases per 100,000 people one week earlier.
Wales has the highest rate of new cases of the four UK nations, though the “shape” of the third wave continues to look different in each part of the UK, according to analysis of the latest Government data by the PA news agency.
While the rate is still climbing in Wales, in Scotland it has been falling for several weeks since reaching a record of 824.6 per 100,000 people in early September, and currently stands at 422.4.
Northern Ireland also appears to have passed its peak after its rate hit a near-record 620.5 in late August.
In England the third wave has followed a different course.
The rate of new cases peaked in mid-July at 544, then started to fall sharply before levelling off around 300.
In early September the rate began to fall once more, but recently has risen again and stands at 324.7, up week-on-week from 256.1.
The different shapes of the third wave in each UK nation are likely to have been influenced by a range of factors, including the speed at which restrictions were eased, the take-up of vaccines among the population, and how and when pupils returned to school after the summer holidays.
All nations have one in thing in common: the number of hospital admissions and deaths during the third wave continues to remain well below levels seen in the second wave.
This reflects the impact of the vaccine rollout, which is estimated to have prevented 123,100 deaths and 230,800 hospital admissions in England alone, according to research published by Cambridge University and Public Health England.
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