England's coronavirus outbreak slowed during first full week of lockdown – as cases dropped 18%, official figures show

ENGLAND'S coronavirus outbreak slowed during the first full week of the second national lockdown as cases dropped 18 per cent, official data has revealed.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) state that the infection rate has "levelled off" across the country.

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Last week the ONS reported that there had been 47,700 new daily cases in England, and this week that figure has dropped 18 per cent to 38,900.

Experts today stated that as restrictions continue, infections should continue to fall.

Prof James Naismith FRS FMedSci, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and University of Oxford said social restrictions are the best way to curb the spread.

Commenting on the ONS data he said: "The lower the number of infections, the less pressure on hospitals and the fewer number of deaths.

“Some people will live to see Christmas, who if these numbers had not fallen, would have died.

“Obviously as the restrictions continue, we all hope and I expect the number of new infections to further fall."

Data from the ONS also stated that the highest case rates have been seen in secondary school age children.

Schools have remained open during the second national lockdown while non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants have all had to close.

Graphs provided by the ONS show a clear increase in school year 7 to 11 and a small increase was also seen in age 2 to school year 6 children.

Cases also seem to have decreased in school year 12 to age 24 and in the over 70s.

Some levelling off can also be seen in age 25 to 34-year-olds.

The ONS stated that there are "substantial difference" in regional rates.

The ONS said: "Over the last week, infection rates have continued to increase in London, the East of England and the South East, however rates now appear to be decreasing in the North West and the East Midlands.

"The highest Covid-19 infection rates remain in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber."

It comes after data from the ZOE symptom tracker app revealed that new Covid infections are falling – but the R rate has crept back up to 1.

Cases have dropped in the North of England and across the UK cases are down 1,684 from last week.

Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker App revealed that there are currently 34,279 daily new symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the UK on average over the two weeks up to November 15.

Last week the figure stood at 35,963 and it was also reported that the R rate had fallen below 1 to 0.9.

'Regional compliance'

But this week the rate has crept back up and the experts at King's College London said it now sits at 1.

Experts have warned that an increase in cases in the Midlands is "concerning", and said cases are not declining in the South East, London and the South West.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London said the reason for the overall R rate of 1 in England is due to the fact that numbers are falling in the North, but rising in the Midlands and the East – while they have remained flat in the South.

He added: "The continued rise in the Midlands, despite national lockdown is concerning.

"This suggests an approach focused on improved compliance at regional, not national level, over a longer time frame is the best way forward."

Data from the app shows that the North West and the North East and Yorkshire, both have R values of 0.9 with numbers still declining since their peak at the end of October.

In the southern regions of England the experts said that cases are not declining despite lockdown restrictions, with R Values of 1 in South East, London and South West.

The government is set to release an updated R rate this afternoon and last weeks data suggested that the R rate is between 1 and 1.2.

The latest government data which was last updated yesterday evening states that 22,915 people are testing positive for the virus on a daily basis and that in the last seven days 163,061 people have tested positive.

 

Data from the King's College App breaks case numbers down by region and states that there are currently 34,279 new cases of the virus each day in the UK.

In England there are, 29,160, Scotland is estimated to have 2,900, Wales 1,927 and Northern Ireland 292.

Looking specifically at the English regions and the Midlands has the highest amount of cases with 7,790, followed by the North East and Yorkshire with 5,605.

London is next on the list with 4,319 daily cases, followed by the North West with 3,965.

We need to keep cases low enough for us to function as a nation until vaccines arrive without further harmful lockdowns

The South East has 3,914, the South West 2,548 and the East of England has 2,341.

Earlier today Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK is "weeks away from a vaccine".

As soon as the jabs are revealed safe, the NHS is gearing up for a huge roll out across the nation to keep people safe from coronavirus.

US drugs giant Pfizer will seek approval for its jab from UK regulators within days after data revealed that it is 95 per cent effective.

It has also recently been revealed that Moderna also has a jab that is 95 per cent effective.

Updated trial results showed it works just as well in older people and had no major safety concerns.

Approval rests with the UK regulator, MHRA, with a decision expected by the end of the month.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses, with officials expecting at least five million to be delivered by Christmas – enough to vaccinate 2.5million people.

Priority is expected to be given to elderly care home residents, followed by frontline health workers.

Prof Spector highlighted that people needed to try and curb the spread due to the fact that a vaccine has still not yet been rolled out.

He added: "We need to keep cases low enough for us to function as a nation until vaccines arrive without further harmful lockdowns.

"The good news is that cases in the over 60s, that account for most NHS activity, are remaining low.

"According to the government hospital data, admissions have only gone up slowly and most parts of the NHS have spare capacity, so as we head into December, it looks like the hospitals won't be overwhelmed with Covid admissions.” 

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