More than half of people in England are estimated to have Covid antibodies either from past infection or vaccination, according to the latest official figures.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest infection survey found that 54.7 per cent of England’s population were thought to have some level of immunity against coronavirus in the week ending 14 March.
It marks a dramatic increase from the last ONS survey in the week to 3 March, which estimated that one in three people across the country had Covid antibodies.
Around 50 per cent of people in London were thought to have some level of Covid immunity in the first half of March, according to the latest figures, with a similar figure across Wales and Northern Ireland.
Immunity levels saw a slight drop in Scotland, where an estimated 42.6 per cent of the population are thought to have had coronavirus antibodies in the week ending 14 March, according to the ONS.
People aged between 70 and 74 in England were the most likely to test positive for antibodies, with an estimated 91.3 per cent showing some protection via past infection or vaccination.
Meanwhile, the percentage of people testing positive in those aged 16 to 64 years ranged from 40.9 per cent to 57.6 per cent.
Data also showed a reduction in antibody positivity rates among older individuals over recent weeks, which the ONS said was “likely because of people in these prioritised age groups having received their first vaccine dose but not yet their second dose”.
More than 30m people in the UK have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine so far, including more than 3m who have received both injections.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said this morning that Britain will focus on vaccinating its “whole adult population” before it considers providing other nations with surplus doses.
Kwarteng told Sky News: “We want to work cooperatively as well with other countries, but the main priority is to get the vaccine rollout.”.