Covid-19 hospitalisations are steadily increasing in Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

On average, 17 patients were in hospital during the seven days ending July 15, when beds had been empty as recently as June 4.

It comes as a new survey suggests public concern about Covid-19 has dropped to its lowest level since the pandemic began.

A total of 3.8 million people in private households in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 13/14, up 7 per cent from 3.5 million the previous seven days, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

READ MORE: Lloyds bank close branch in Reading as customers plummet

This is the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April, but is still below the record high of 4.9 million seen at the peak of Omicron BA.2 wave at the end of March.

Kara Steel, ONS senior statistician for the Covid-19 infection survey, said: “Infections have, overall, continued to increase in England, reaching similar levels to those seen in April during the BA.2 wave.

“However, we are seeing some uncertain trends in the latest data across the other UK countries, some English regions and among some age groups.

“It is too early to say if this most recent wave is starting to peak, but we will continue to closely monitor the data.”

The rise in total UK infections has been driven by a jump in England, where 3.1 million people were likely to have had the virus in the week to July 13, the equivalent of around one in 17.

READ MORE: Senior soldier in unit protecting Queen cleared of plot to sell Army ammunition

This is up from 2.9 million, or one in 19, a week earlier.

The current wave is being driven by the coronavirus subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which are more transmissible than previous strains.

High levels of Covid antibodies among the population – either from vaccination or previous infection – mean the number of people seriously ill or dying from the virus remain low, however.

The figures come as new polling suggests public concern about Covid-19 has fallen to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

Around two-thirds of people surveyed (65%) said they are concerned about the risk coronavirus poses to the country, down from 71% in March, according to data shared with the PA news agency by the poll company Ipsos.

Some 56% of respondents are concerned about the risk the virus poses to people personally, down from 59%, while 39% are not concerned, up from 36%.

The survey of 2,196 adults in Britain was carried out on July 8-9, at a time when infection levels were already rising across the country.