A new wave of COVID is “kicking off” in England, an expert has warned.
Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath and a member of Independent Sage, advised people to use existing infection control techniques due to rising cases.
“There is another wave of covid kicking off," he tweeted.
“The good news is that the same things that previously worked will work against new variants.
“Wear a mask in indoor spaces. Meet outdoors rather than indoors if you can.
“Ventilate indoor spaces. Test. Vaccinate.”
In the most recent infection survey, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were "early signs" of an increase in COVID infections in England caused by Omicron variants BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5
About 797,500 people in private households in England were likely to test positive for COVID-19 in the week ending 2 June, the equivalent of about one in 70, the ONS aid.
This is up week on week from 784,100.
Infection levels are estimated to have risen in London, north-west England and south-east England, with early signs of an increase in eastern England.
Watch: Catching Omicron 'does little to protect against reinfection from variant'
BA.4 and BA.5 are newer variants that were recently classified by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as “variants of concern”, after analysis found both were likely to have a “growth advantage” over BA.2, which is still the dominant strain in the country.
Initial findings suggest BA.4 and BA.5 have a degree of “immune escape”, meaning the immune system can no longer recognise or fight a virus, which is likely to contribute to their growth advantage over BA.2, the UKHSA said.
Separate figures show the recent fall in the number of people in hospital with the virus may have come to a halt, with hospital admissions on the rise.
On 1 June, there was a seven-day average of 447.7 COVID hospitalisations compared to 8 June, which was 596.7.
Professor Christina Pagel, a member of the scientific advisory group Independent Sage, said: “We will have a new wave of infections this month.
“Now hopefully it won't be as high as the previous two waves and might be lower.
“But we can't count on that and either way we are going to see more people becoming infected.”
It comes as health secretary Sajid Javid told The Times newspaper the country was country “properly post-pandemic.”
He added coronavirus was “no longer a pandemic” and was now “endemic” like the flu.