Covid-19 coronavirus infection rates among secondary school children in England have increased slightly, new figures show.
The percentage of children in school years 7-11 who likely tested positive for Covid-19 in the week leading up to March 20 is 0.43% versus 0.32% the previous week.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates coincide with the return of students to secondary schools across England from March 8th – a move that has likely affected the spread of the coronavirus thanks to the mixing of staff, parents and students .
The tests have also been expanded, with all secondary school students expected to take three quick Covid-19 tests three to five days apart on their return, and then take additional tests twice a week.
According to the ONS, rates are likely to have decreased in older teenagers and young adults (school year 12 to 34 years old) and teenagers between 50 and 69 years old, but the trend is uncertain for other age groups.
All figures refer to infections reported by individuals in private households, not other facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes.
The estimates should be treated with caution, said ONS, as they are based on small samples and have a higher level of uncertainty than the numbers for England as a whole.
About one in 340 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week ending March 20, unchanged from the previous week and the lowest value since the week ending September 24, 2020.
The ONS said the overall percentage of people in England who tested positive “is likely to have flattened out”.