United Kingdom

Covid infection rates drop with 70% of Britons living in areas reporting no new cases

More than 45 million people are in areas that recorded two or fewer infections, according to analysis by the Daily Express. A further 6.6 million live in places that reported just three cases, and 4.5 million are seeing four local cases last week. The Government publishes data breaking down the number of cases in geographical areas known as “Middle layer Super Output Areas”, each covering an average population of 8,000. There are around 8,400 MSOAs across the country and people can check the number of cases where they live using an online postcode search.

When fewer than three cases are reported in a week, the exact figures are not shared to protect identities.

The figures show the incredible progress that has been made in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, almost 70 percent of adults in England are thought to have antibodies to coronavirus generated by either past infection or vaccination, up from 50 per cent two weeks ago.

The Office for National Statistics Covid-19 infection survey found the highest levels among those aged 70-74, with 88 percent testing positive for antibodies. They were followed by people aged 80 and over (87 percent) and 60 to 64 (86 percent).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the progress but urged people to continue getting the jab to drive down the figures even further.

He said: “Vaccines are safe, effective and saving thousands of lives in our country.

“Today’s ONS data show more and more of us are benefiting from protection the vaccine gives us against this awful disease.

“The public’s response to the call to vaccines has been amazing, with over 95 percent of over-50s stepping forward. We can now see the impact in reality.

“The evidence is clear that the vaccine protects you, your loved ones and those around you. The vaccine is our way out and getting back to doing the things we have missed.”

He added: “ This is a massive national effort – so when you get the call, get the jab.” 

Almost 34 million people have now received their first Covid-19 jab in the UK and 13.6 million have had a second dose.

But a further 29 deaths were reported across the UK yesterday, up slightly from 22 the previous Wednesday.

Some 2,166 cases were also confirmed, down 10 percent from 2,396.

Despite the progress, Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, warned it was “very important” as many people as possible are vaccinated before all restrictions are eased.

She told MPs on the Science and Technology Committee: “At the moment we are trying to balance it very carefully.

“As more people get vaccinated we are releasing gradually, we’re observing what happens, and then that’s allowing us to carry on.

“It does depend on what the future holds, how people behave, how the vaccine works.”

Dr Ramsay also told MPs that it was important to remember that national figures could hide “pockets” of higher transmission around the country.

She added: “I think it is a mistake to just assume that everyone is the same, and every area is the same.

“Uptake has been incredibly high but there are some pockets where it’s a little bit lower. We know London, for example, is lagging behind.”

The Daily Express analysis found that the highest number of cases reported in any MSOA last week was 59, in Selby Town, North Yorkshire.

This was followed by 28 cases in Crumpsall South, Manchester.

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