New confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK have dropped to the lowest rate since the beginning of October 2020.
According to the latest COVID data released by the government, the seven-day average of new daily cases was 12,580 as of 12 February, the latest date for which complete data is available.
The last time the figure was lower was on 3 October 2020, when the seven-day average of daily new COVID cases was 11,994.
The map below shows how many new cases there were in your area per 100,000 people in the last week
On Monday, the UK reported a further 230 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
While numbers tend to be lower on Mondays due to reporting delays over the weekend, the figure is the lowest seen on an equivalent day since the beginning of October.
The government also reported on Monday that the daily number of people testing positive was 9,725 cases.
While the decreasing numbers are an encouraging sign that lockdown is working, ministers and experts continue to caution that rates are still too high to significantly ease lockdown.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, Boris Johnson urged the public to be “optimistic but also patient”.
Watch: PM refuses to guarantee that this will be the final lockdown
He warned there were still more hospital patients with COVID-19 than at the peak of the first wave, and admissions were running at 1,600 a day across the UK.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the number of people in hospital in the UK with coronavirus is coming down but the “rates are still very high”.
“They are around the point, in fact slightly above the point, which they were at the peak of the epidemic in April last year,” he told the press conference.
“So these are still very high rates but they are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Prof Whitty said death rates remained high but are continuing to go down.
He also stressed that protection from coronavirus vaccines is not immediate, but comes after two or three weeks.
“Then people will have a second vaccine and that’ll strengthen the level of protection and also make it more long lasting – so it is absolutely essential that when people are asked to go back for their second vaccine they do so.”
The PM will outline his plan for easing lockdown on 22 February, and has pledged that opening schools will be the first step.
Watch: How might the road map out of lockdown look?