Health, fitness and Food
Weekly Covid cases drop by another 30% in England
Weekly Covid cases drop by another 30%: Test and Trace data show England’s outbreak is now at similar size to before second wave took off in October – as No10 expands surge testing to Leeds to flush out South African variant
- Test and Trace data shows there were 106,474 new cases in the week to February 10, the latest available
- This is the same levels as October with cases only lower in mid-October when 96,601 infections identified
- Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to start easing some restrictions from anti-lockdown Tory MPs
Coronavirus cases have dropped to levels seen before the second wave spiralled out of control, official figures reveal today.
Test and Trace figures show 106,474 new Covid patients tested positive for the virus in England in the seven-day spell ending February 10 — a 30 per cent drop week-on-week. By comparison, more than 300,000 patients were spotted during the darkest days of the crisis in January.
Weekly infections sat at around the 100,000 mark in October, when the outbreak began to spread rapidly, and during the first week of December, when England’s third national lockdown was lifted.
It came as testing for the South African B.1.351 variant — which makes vaccines slightly less effective — was rolled out to yet more postcodes today, as ministers seek to stop the strain becoming established on British soil. Door-to-door testing will be rolled out in Leeds.
The promising fall in infections comes as Boris Johnson faces growing clamour for a speedier lifting of lockdown measures. The PM is set to unveil his ‘roadmap’ back to normality on Monday, with his ‘prudent’ approach set to make pubs and restaurants among the last places to reopen.
Business chiefs and politicians have demanded an accelerated timeframe to save firms from collapse, amid fears that restrictions might last for months, citing the success of the vaccine rollout and significant falls in deaths and infections. Even one of No10’s scientific advisers yesterday said the data was ‘pointing in the right direction’ for some brutal curbs on daily freedoms to be eased soon.
But despite swathes of data showing the worst of the second wave is now behind Britain, there are still hints the decline in infections has started to slow.
Britain yesterday confirmed 12,718 new cases, which was only a tiny drop (2.3 per cent) on the week before. And a symptom-tracking app has claimed infections are rising in parts of the UK, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire, the North East and the East Midlands.
Any turn in the trend could be devastating now, with the Government inching closer to finally lifting lockdown for good. But doctors and scientists say they want infection and hospital numbers as close to zero as possible before draconian restrictions end.