One in 55 people in England had COVID last week after slight decrease in infections

A person passes a 'Act like you've got it' government coronavirus sign on Commercial road in Bournemouth, during England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Picture date: Friday January 22, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Government signs have been posted in high streets across the country, encouraging vigilance, during England's third national lockdown (Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)

More than a million people in England were infected with coronavirus last week, marking a slight decrease that suggests the national lockdown is starting to bring infection levels down.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 1,023,700 people in England had COVID-19 between 10 and 16 January, the latest dates for which data is available.

This means about one in every 55 people was infected, down from one in 50 between 27 December and 2 January.

The ONS estimates that around one in 35 people in private households in London had COVID-19 from 1-16 January – the highest figure for any region in England.

Around one in 40 people in north-east England had COVID-19 during this period, alongside one in 50 in north-west England and the West Midlands.

NOTE: IDENTIFYING FEATURES PIXELATED BY THE PA PICTURE DESK TO PROTECT PATIENT IDENTITY A patient is unloaded from an ambulance outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, during England's third national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Picture date: Wednesday January 20, 2021. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The government has urged people to stay home in order to ease mounting pressure on hospitals and the NHS (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

The other estimates are: one in 55 people in south-east England, one in 60 in the East Midlands, one in 75 in eastern England, one in 80 in south-west England and one in 85 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The report also found that in the week ending 17 January, confirmed COVID-19 hospital admission rates stood at at 35.2 per 100,000 people compared with 35.5 in the previous week. This is more than twice the rate seen in the week ending 6 December 2020 (13.3 admissions per 100,000 people).

The number of COVID-19 patients being admitted to intensive care units (ICU) and high-dependency units (HDU) also remained high, unchanged from the previous week at 2.4 per 100,000 people.

The figures come a day after an Imperial College London React report showed that the prevalence of coronavirus across England increased by 50% between early December and the second week of January.

Watch: Priti Patel announces £800 fines for house parties

Some 143,000 volunteers were tested in England between 6 and 15 January, with results showing that one in 63 people were infected.

The researchers said their findings showed there were “worrying suggestions of a recent uptick in infections”, covering part of the period of the latest lockdown.

National prevalence of the virus increased by half from 0.91% in early December to 1.58% by mid-January, the study found.

In an effort to enhance the effect of lockdown, an £800 fine for people who attend house parties during the coronavirus lockdown has been announced.

The fines will apply to people at “illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes”, home secretary Priti Patel said at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday.

“The science is clear,” she said.

“Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health, not only to those in attendance but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.

“We will not stand by while small numbers of individuals put others at risk.”

Click here to see how many people have been infected in your area.

Watch: What is long COVID?