COVID infection rate ‘may be levelling off’ in England – but rates vary ‘substantially’ across regions

Connor Parker
·3-min read
Coronavirus rates have continued to decline steadily in all four nations of the UK in recent weeks. (PA)
Coronavirus rates have continued to decline steadily in all four nations of the UK in recent weeks. (PA)

The coronavirus infection rate across the UK appears to be levelling off but rates vary ‘substantially’ across different areas of the country, the latest figures show.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in England had decreased slightly to just below 1.2% using the latest figures which cover the week 15-21 November.

They say this equates to one in every 85 people in England in the general community (excluding care home residents and long term hospital patients) currently has COVID-19.

They estimated 633,000 people in private households in England had Covid-19, equivalent of around 1.16% of the population.

The figures represent a slight decrease from 664,700 people, or 1.22% of the population, who were estimated to have Covid-19 in the period November 8 to 14.

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Positivity rates have increased in the East Midlands and the North East, but have declined everywhere else in England.

The North West and Midlands have seen a steep decline in infection rates but still account for some of the highest in the country.

Yorkshire and the Humber has seen a slight decrease but has the highest infections rates in the country alongside the North East.

Infection rates in the other three nations of the UK have all continued to fall, they estimate one in 185 people in Wales has COVID-19, one in every 115 in Scotland, and one in every 145 in Northern Ireland.

The ONS found the only increases in the positivity rate were seen in secondary school-age children with declines in rates in adults aged 35 years and over.

They found while it appears rates among 12-24 year-olds were levelling off they still had the highest infection rates across all age groups.

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The government’s official figures mirror the ONS in suggesting the UK is past the second peak and infections are levelling off.

A total of 152,660 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to November 18, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

This is the first time since mid-August that the number has fallen week-on-week.

It is down 9% on the previous week’s total of 168,250.

The news comes as England prepares to leave its second lockdown on 2 December.

The government announced today over 98% of the population of England would be subject to either Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions when lockdown ends.

The tiers have been enhanced from previous iterations with Tier 2 now being similar to the previous Tier 3.

Tier 3 now forces all pubs, bars and restaurants to close with restrictions on many other aspects of life.

Other areas like shops, hairdressers and gyms are allowed to remain open across all three tiers.