There were on average 13 positive cases for every 10,000 people, with an overall reproduction number of 0.57 – lower than previously reported, Imperial College London said in a research to date into coronavirus rates of infection (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).

Around 148,000 people in England had Covid-19 in recent weeks, according to results on Thursday (14) from a large-scale study in Britain into the spread of the disease.

The Office for National Statistics said it estimated that about 0.27 per cent of England’s population were carrying the disease during the April 27 to May 10 survey period – slightly higher than an estimate of 0.24 per cent published on Monday (13).

But there is a wide range of uncertainty around the true number of people infected, which the ONS said could range from 94,000 to 222,000 at a standard 95 per cent confidence interval.

The estimate was based on swab tests performed on 10,705 people across 5,276 households, rather than in hospitals or care homes, the Office for National Statistics said.

England is slowly starting to ease coronavirus restrictions – including encouraging more people to return to work – but like many countries has said it needs to ensure this does not accelerate the spread of the disease.

More than 40,000 people in the United Kingdom have died with suspected Covid-19, the highest official toll in Europe.

While the disease caused by the novel coronavirus hits older people hardest, the survey found there was little difference between age groups in terms of the spread of the virus.

The ONS survey was conducted with the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust.


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