Covid-19 infections have fallen in England, Wales and Scotland, official data shows, suggesting the latest wave, fueled by the highly transmissible variant of the BA.5 coronavirus, may be on the decline.

The Office for National Statistics coronavirus infection survey showed around 2,632,200 people in England tested positive in the week to July 20, which equates to around one in 20 people, against one in 17 the previous week.

In Wales, the figure was around one in 19 people compared to one in 17 the previous week. In Scotland, around one in 19 people had the virus, up from one in 15 a week earlier.

In Northern Ireland, statisticians said the trend remained “unclear”, with around one in 16 people testing positive, up from one in 20 the previous week.

The data is collected from private households and excludes infections in hospitals or nursing homes, for example.

Sarah Crofts, head of the survey’s analytical results, said the most recent data “suggests we may now have passed the peak of the latest wave of infections across the UK, although rates still remain among the highest observed during the pandemic”.

“We have seen welcome declines in most parts of the UK and across all age groups. With the onset of summer holidays and an increase in the number of people travelling, we will continue to monitor the data closely,” she added.