The vast majority of people in Norfolk - 90pc - have caught Covid-19 at some point since the start of the pandemic, experts now believe.

Data collated by health leaders in the county shows that nine out of ten people in Norfolk are carrying Covid antibodies through natural transmission - whether they were aware of their infection or not.

And Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health, said she believes this is causing current infections to be much milder.

However, she warned the virus is "very much still with us".

Dr Smith said that currently around one in 30 people have the virus with cases having been on the rise since September.

She said: "The virus is changing and so is the way it infects people. Cases are much milder now and there appears to be more asymptomatic transmission.

"However it is clear that the virus is not causing as many admissions to hospital."

Dr Smith said there are around 180 people in hospital with the virus, but that this was a combination of people in hospital with the virus and in hospital because of it.

Of these patients, none are receiving intensive care.

She said: "The numbers are quite similar to what we were seeing in January, which is why the booster jab programme is so important - it is really important to give people as much immunity as we can, as it does wane."

Meanwhile, Dr Smith said that while case numbers are expected to rise over the winter months, she did not envisage there being any need for reintroducing restrictions.

She said: "There is certainly no need for restrictions at the moment and if the virus itself doesn't change I don't believe that will change.

"At the moment Omicron is still the most prevalent variant and there is a lot of natural immunity about.

"But it is a virus that keeps changing so it can sometimes be very difficult to predict."

Dr Smith added: "Even without restrictions, I would still recommend that if you feel unwell, have a cough or the sniffles try and avoid unnecessary contact with people.

"I would also encourage anybody who is eligible for a booster jab to get one."