ONE in eight people in England were estimated to have already had Covid-19 by December, new figures show.

The number was up from one in 14 in October with data coming from the Office for national Statistic's Covid-19 Infection Survey.

The study was run by ONS in conjunction with the University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust.

The data is based on the proportion of the population who are likely to have tested positive for antibodies to Covid-19, based on blood test results from a sample of people aged 16 and over.

The ONS found "substantial variation" between regions in England, with 17 per cent of people in private households in Yorkshire and the Humber estimated to have tested positive for antibodies in December, compared with 5 per cent in south-west England.

In London, the figure was 16 per cent in December, up from 11 per cent in October, while it was 15 per cent in the North West, up from 6 per cent in October.

In the West Midlands, 14 per cent have had Covid, up from 8 per cent in October, while 8 per cent in the South East and the East of England have had the virus, both up from 5 per cent in October.

The study results were published as Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed he is self-isolating after receiving an alert through the NHS Covid-19 app.

In a video posted on Twitter, he said: "Last night I was pinged by the NHS coronavirus app, so that means I'll be self-isolating at home, not leaving the house at all until Sunday."

Mr Hancock, who has previously had coronavirus, said self-isolating is important because it is "how we break the chains of transmission".

Some family doctors continue to express their frustration about the rollout of vaccines across the UK.

With more than half of the over-80s and half of elderly care home residents having received the jab, ministers have now given the go-ahead to begin vaccinating the next priority groups - the over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable.