Britain has started counting possible Covid-19 reinfections in its daily coronavirus data, changing its approach to reflect the increased number of people catching the disease for a second time as the Omicron variant predominates.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) added around 840,000 cases to the cumulative total, taking it to 17.3 million coronavirus infections reported.
Britain’s daily Covid statistics previously would only count people who had tested positive for the first time to avoid double-counting people who had received multiple positive test results for the same infection.
However, with variants such as Omicron leading to an increase in reinfections, the UKHSA said it would change its method to treat positive tests as separate infections if there was at least 90 days between test results. The change took effect on Monday (January 31).
“Reinfection remained at very low levels until the start of the Omicron wave. It is right that our daily reporting processes reflect how the virus has changed,” said Steven Riley, UKHSA’s Director General of Data and Analytics.
“We continue to see downward trends in case numbers and incidence of illness as we work to reduce the impact of the pandemic on our day-to-day lives”
Monday’s daily cases — the first to include reinfections — saw a further 92,368 cases reported, with 51 deaths within 28 days of a positive test result.
Britain has reported 155,754 deaths from Covid-19, the seventh highest tally globally.