Number of people with coronavirus in England thought to have halved in a week

A nurse takes a sample at a COVID 19 testing centre in the car park of the Bowhouse Community Centre in Grangemouth as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Office for National Statistics estimates about the number of COVID-19 infections in England have halved in a week. (PA Images via Getty Images)

The number of people with coronavirus has halved in a week, latest figures show, as the scale of pandemic appears to ease across England.

The latest data, produced by the Office for National Statistics, reveals there was an average of 25,000 people who the coronavirus at any point between 14 June and 27 June in England.

It comes as restrictions in that nation continue to ease, notably with pubs allowed to reopen to customers from Saturday.

That is almost half the previous average, released last week, which estimated 51,000 people in England had COVID-19 at some point between 8 June and 21 June, despite fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections coming later in the year.

The ONS estimate of 25,000 people – which is an average of one in 2,200 individuals – does not include those in settings like care homes and hospitals.

“Modelling of the trend over time suggests that the decline in the number of people in England testing positive has levelled off in recent weeks,” the ONS said, despite the large drop compared to last week.

“Modelling of the incidence rate trend over time suggests that incidence appears to have decreased between mid-May and early June 2020, but it has also since levelled off.”

Before last week’s estimation that an average of 51,000 people in England had COVID-19 between 8 June and 21 June, the ONS had estimated 33,000 people, or 1 in 1,700 individuals, in England had COVID-19 at any given time between 31 May and 13 June.

That represented a huge decline from the estimated 149,000 people thought to have had it at any moment between 3 May and 16 May.

With the new relaxation of the coronavirus rules, Boris Johnson urged people in England not to “overdo it” as restaurants and hairdressers join pubs in the reopening.

Professor John Edmunds told ITV’s Peston on Wednesday night that people who worried about a second wave of the coronavirus in the UK were likely correct to be pessimistic about it.

“I don’t want to be too gloomy but they are probably right,” the infectious disease expert, who sits on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, better known as Sage, said.

Official figures on Thursday showed Leicester, which has been placed under a local lockdown, remains the worst-hit council area for COVID-19 infections, with 141.3 cases per 100,000, up from 140.2 in the week ending 21 June.

It is followed by Bradford on 45.8 cases per 100,000, down from 69.4, and Barnsley, with 35.1, down from 54.7.

The government’s official tally records 43,906 COVID-19 deaths in the UK and 313,483 cases since the outbreak began.

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