Cases of Covid-19 in Reading are rising once again amid concern for a new variant, Omicron.

Three cases of Omicron, deemed a "variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Saturday, have been detected in England.

None of those were detected in Reading, but last week new infections reached their highest point since January 11.

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In the latest complete data available from Public Health England, 138 cases were confirmed in Reading on November 23.

The day before, 187 were recorded. That many new infections were recorded on only five days in Reading during the height of the second Covid wave in January.

New Covid cases are being driven by young people and the middle-aged.

In the week ending November 23, the highest rate of cases per 100,000 people were among the following age group:

  • 5 to 9-year-olds: 1,085
  • 10 to 14-year-olds: 1,434
  • 40 to 44-year-olds: 717

Reading Chronicle: Reading cases by specimen date. Source: Public Health EnglandReading cases by specimen date. Source: Public Health England

The Omicron variant, which the WHO suspects is more transmissible, was detected in Essex and Nottingham.

Scotland has also reported six cases of the variant.

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In response, the Government has reintroduced a mask mandate for shoppers as well as travelers on public transport.

Anyone entering the UK from any destination abroad will have to take a PCR test two days after arrival and self-isolate until they have a negative result.

Anyone who has been in close contact with a case of Omicron will have to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.