Boris Johnson right this moment confronted contemporary calls to hurry up lockdown easing plans as much more information confirmed England’s coronavirus outbreak is nonetheless in retreat, with circumstances now at ranges not seen since final summer time.
Experts monitoring the unfold of Covid declare the nation is nonetheless in a similar position as it was in July, when ministers felt assured to loosen up restrictions regardless that nobody was vaccinated.
But with 31.6million of essentially the most susceptible Britons now given jabs which might be confirmed to save lots of lives and with all key measures pointing downwards, Tory MPs have urged the Prime Minister to stay to his ‘information not dates’ pledge and transfer faster.
Public Health England statistics right this moment confirmed the Covid outbreak shrunk in all ages group and area in England final week. Darlington was the one council to register a slight rise in infections.
And the symptom-tracking app run by King’s College London consultants estimated Covid circumstances had halved in a week throughout the nation, with round 1,500 individuals falling unwell daily.
Separate figures additionally confirmed virtually 94 per cent of over-70s now have Covid antibodies to combat off the virus, highlighting the large success of Britain’s vaccination drive.
Department of Health information right this moment confirmed Covid circumstances had fallen by a third in a week to three,030, however deaths had risen barely after 53 had been recorded – two greater than final Thursday.
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist who leads the KCL research, stated: ‘These figures are among the many lowest in Europe. Admissions and deaths are additionally persevering with to say no, placing the UK in a similar place to July final 12 months.’
Former Tory cupboard minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith advised MailOnline the promising information meant the exit from lockdown ‘must be faster’ as a result of the Prime Minister’s present roadmap dates are ‘deeply pessimistic’.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government’s cautious strategy saying ‘we’ve seen what occurs when this virus will get going’, and added that the roadmap is designed to attain an ‘irreversible’ return to one thing near regular life.
Pubs and eating places are set to reopen for outside service in England on Monday, with outlets and hairdressers additionally once more set to be allowed to welcome prospects.
But the following shutdown easing is six weeks away, with overseas holidays not set to be permitted till May 17. The earliest date all restrictions might go underneath Boris’ plan – besides masks and social distancing – is June 21.
Public Health England information confirmed Covid circumstances fell in each native authority in England final week (proper) besides Darlington the place they rose barely. PHE information from the week earlier than (left) confirmed three quarters of councils noticed a drop in circumstances
Covid circumstances fell in all ages group final week, Public Health England’s report revealed right this moment, and are lowest amongst over-60s. Everyone in this age group has been supplied at the very least one dose of the Covid vaccine
PHE information additionally revealed circumstances fell throughout each area of England final week. Only Darlington registered a slight rise
The above graph reveals Covid antibody ranges amongst over-70s have surged to 94 per cent, after everybody in this age group was supplied at the very least one dose of the vaccine
The variety of Britons getting tell-tale Covid signs has greater than halved in a week, information by ZOE and King’s College London has proven
Experts: Covid vaccines are ‘breaking the hyperlink’ between circumstances and deaths
Coronavirus vaccines are ‘breaking the hyperlink’ between circumstances and deaths, consultants behind a main surveillance research monitoring England’s outbreak revealed right this moment.
Imperial College London epidemiologists discovered whereas Covid infections appeared to have levelled off in early April, fatalities linked to the virus had been nonetheless falling – which might not have been anticipated throughout the first or second wave.
More than 31million Britons – or three in 5 adults – have already obtained a jab, with separate consultants right this moment suggesting the speedy roll-out might see the UK hit herd immunity – when the virus stops spreading – subsequent month.
The REACT-1 research – which randomly swabbed 140,000 individuals in the most recent spherical – additionally recommended Covid circumstances had greater than halved in a month and fallen in all ages group, including the reopening of faculties had little impression on the epidemic.
They estimated 0.2 per cent of England’s inhabitants, or one in 500, had been contaminated between March 11 and 30 in comparison with 0.49 per cent in February, a fall of 60 per cent.
The largest drops had been recorded in the South East, the place prevalence went from 0.36 per cent in February to 0.07 per cent in March, in London (0.6 to 0.16 per cent), and in the East of England (0.47 to 0.15 per cent).
They additionally recommended circumstances could have ‘flattened off’ in early April. But consultants stated this was nothing to fret about and insisted this was really ‘excellent news’ as a result of it means the slight easing of restrictions in late March has not induced a spike.
Boris Johnson has given the go forward to outside pubs and eating places reopening on Monday, saying his 4 checks for shifting to the following stage of England’s roadmap out of lockdown – together with circumstances nonetheless falling and ramping up vaccinations – had been met.
Further relaxations will see overseas holidays allowed from May 17, and the earliest date all restrictions on day by day life may very well be relaxed – excluding face masks and social distancing – is June 21.
Separate information from the Department of Health – which publishes day by day case updates – additionally reveals the virus is nonetheless in retreat, with circumstances yesterday dropping by a third to 2,763 in comparison with final Wednesday.
The newest Covid developments got here as:
- Professor Beverley Hunt, an skilled in thrombosis and haemostasis at King’s College London, who has been working with the MHRA on the clot circumstances, stated ‘we do not know whether or not it’s causal or not’ when it involves the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group, stated ‘this is not the time to waver’ over uncommon blood clots linked to the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a result of coronavirus circumstances are rising in Europe and different nations around the globe.
- Mr Hancock didn’t deny that AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in the UK have been despatched to Australia after experiences 717,000 doses had been despatched.
- Professor Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the JCVI, stated the clots are ‘extraordinarily uncommon occasions – a lot, far more uncommon than, for example, clots because of frequent medicine that we prescribe such as the contraceptive tablet’.
- Professor Steven Riley, an skilled from Imperial College London’s Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission (React-1) research, stated its most up-to-date discovering that there are more and more ‘fewer deaths per an infection’ in the UK is partly because of the vaccine rollout.
Public Health England information revealed 148 out of 149 councils in England – 99.3 per cent – noticed their Covid circumstances fall in the seven days to April 4. Only Darlington registered a rise, however this was simply 9 per cent on final week.
The Covid an infection price additionally dropped under 100 circumstances per 100,000 residents in each native authority besides Barnsley. The overwhelming majority of areas had case numbers above this degree in the darkest days of January.
And when the info was damaged down by age teams it confirmed circumstances had plunged in all age teams and had been now lowest among the many over-60s (10.9 per 100,000), who’ve all been supplied at the very least one dose of the vaccine.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, stated: ‘It is encouraging that the info proceed to go in the proper course, however we all know how rapidly the virus can unfold.
‘We have come a good distance because the begin of the 12 months, and the horrible peak we noticed throughout the winter, largely due to the nation’s grit and willpower.
‘Whatever your plans subsequent week, please bear in mind to comply with the principles and take up your vaccine when supplied one. Let’s not blow it now.’
Professor Lawrence Young, a virus skilled at Warwick University, advised MailOnline it was troublesome to ‘tease out’ the results of the vaccines and the lengthy lockdown on transmission charges – however the information was ‘clearly heading in the proper course’.
‘We are clearly seeing a shift in phrases of circumstances and hospitalisations and deaths, which is actually encouraging,’ he advised MailOnline.
‘This is an impact from vaccination and the enormously lengthy lockdown too – however the massive fear is what occurs in June when every part goes again to regular kind of.’
When requested whether or not the UK would quickly attain herd immunity – when the virus stops spreading in the group as a result of sufficient individuals have antibodies to combat it off – Professor Young stated this was unlikely as a result of the vaccine doesn’t give everybody who is injected safety and there are indications immunity could wane over time.
It comes after a University College London mannequin right this moment recommended Britain might go the edge for herd immunity – when the virus stops spreading in the group as a result of sufficient individuals have immunity – as quickly as Monday subsequent week.
Their information claimed 73.4 per cent of the inhabitants might have antibodies to combat off the virus by April 12, a considerably extra optimistic outlook than a separate Imperial College London research that recommended simply 34 per cent could have antibodies by the tip of this month.
But the Health Secretary right this moment rubbished the forecast and stated he had been ‘advised by some scientists that we had been going to have herd immunity in May after which in June after which after that’.
Ministers launched a media blitz to reassure the general public over the security of the AstraZeneca vaccine right this moment as they insisted the nation’s vaccine drive remained on the right track to supply all UK adults a jab by the tip of July.
Mr Hancock stated a resolution by UK well being chiefs to rule the AstraZeneca jab shouldn’t be given to Britons underneath the age of 30 as consultants proceed to research its hyperlink to uncommon blood clots confirmed ‘the security system is working as a result of the regulators can spot even this extraordinarily uncommon occasion’.
He stated ‘individuals can take confidence that we’ve a system that we’re extraordinarily cautious on the security entrance’ however he insisted that ‘once you get the decision, get the jab’.
The Government’s vaccine advisory group yesterday dominated that individuals aged between 18 and 29 must be supplied an alternative choice to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Mr Hancock stated the UK has ‘greater than sufficient’ Pfizer and Moderna jabs to cowl the entire individuals in that age group who’re but to obtain a vaccination – roughly 8.5million.
He stated ‘all three vaccines which might be in use in the UK are secure and they’re secure in any respect ages’ and that there is merely a ‘desire for the under-30s, in the event that they wish to have the Pfizer of Moderna jab as a substitute then they will’.
NHS Test and Trace information launched right this moment confirmed the variety of individuals testing optimistic for Covid fell by a fifth to 29,293 between March 25 and March 31 in comparison with the earlier week
Some 4.8million individuals had been examined at the very least as soon as throughout the week — an 18 per cent fall on the earlier week — as a result of some faculties shut earlier for Easter
Revellers are pictured in Soho, central London in July final 12 months as pubs, bars and eating places reopened following the primary lockdown
The newest coronavirus developments got here as:
Modelling revealed by UCL recommended the UK is set to go the edge for attaining herd immunity probably as early as subsequent week.
Scientists disagree on what the precise herd immunity threshold is however prime US medical official Dr Anthony Fauci has beforehand recommended it may very well be as excessive as 90 per cent.
More proof vaccines are working: Deaths have fallen by 92% in over-80s in England and Wales since peak of the second wave in January
Over-80s Covid deaths have fallen by greater than 90 per cent because the peak of the second wave in England and Wales, official figures revealed right this moment in but extra proof that the vaccines are working.
Office for National Statistics information confirmed 379 fatalities had been linked to the virus in essentially the most aged group in the week ending March 26 — in comparison with 5,354 throughout the darkest interval of January.
Deaths for these aged 75-79 dropped 93.4 per cent over the identical interval, in contrast with falls of 92.4 per cent amongst these aged 70-74, 90.8 per cent for these aged 65-69 and 83.7 per cent for these aged 60-64.
Experts right this moment stated the promising figures may very well be pinned on the UK’s profitable vaccine roll-out, with there now being a better proportion of Covid-related deaths in youthful individuals than throughout the second wave.
Around 14 per cent of all Covid victims (98 individuals) in the latest week had been underneath the age of 60. For comparability, the determine was round six per cent final autumn (55).
Everyone over 60 has been supplied at the very least one dose of the Covid vaccine in England and Wales, and Department of Health figures present greater than 31million Britons — or three in 5 adults — have obtained a jab.
The figures come after consultants behind a main surveillance research right this moment claimed vaccines had been ‘breaking the hyperlink’ between circumstances and deaths, saying Covid fatalities had been falling as infections plateaued — a pattern that was not seen throughout both the primary or second wave.
ONS statistics additionally revealed the variety of deaths linked to Covid fell by a quarter in the ultimate week of March, after 719 had been recorded in comparison with 963 in the earlier seven-day spell.
And fatalities from all causes — together with dementia and coronary heart illness — remained under the five-year common for the third week in a row. Experts warned they might drop under the quantity anticipated as a result of the pandemic had induced 1000’s of individuals to die early.
The UK authorities’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance quoted a determine of 60 per cent again in March 2020 however scientists now imagine it is a lot greater than that as a result of the virus is extra transmissible than beforehand thought.
Imperial College’s outcomes fashioned a part of the info thought-about by SPI-M – a authorities skilled advisory group – whose calculations feed into the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE).
SAGE launched modelling in paperwork this week suggesting that lifting lockdown curbs absolutely in June might result in greater than a thousand deaths a day this summer time and push the NHS to the brink once more.
But UCL’s information paints a far more optimistic image. UCL theoretical neuroscientist Professor Karl Friston advised The Daily Telegraph: ‘Over 50 per cent of adults have been vaccinated, round 42 per cent of individuals have now been uncovered to the virus and about 10 per cent have pre-existing immunity.
‘When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in phrases of sterilising immunity, this – in keeping with the mannequin – means about 70 per cent of the inhabitants are immune.
‘Based upon contact charges originally of the pandemic and estimated transmission threat, this is practically on the herd immunity threshold.’
But Mr Hancock dismissed the modelling throughout an interview with LBC Radio this morning. Asked why measures are being eased so slowly given the herd immunity modelling, the Health Secretary replied: ‘Well, I was told by some scientists that we were going to have herd immunity in May and then in June and then after that.’
Asked if he believed the modelling to be ‘exaggerated’, Mr Hancock replied: ‘What I prefer to do is to watch the data. And so we have set out the roadmap, the roadmap is really clear, it is our route back to normal, we are on track to meet the roadmap and that is our goal.
‘Critically, after we take each step like on Monday we are going to be able to go to the pub in the garden.’
Defending the Government’s strategy to lifting guidelines, he added: ‘Well, I think we have taken the right course in plotting our way to freedom and doing it carefully because we want it to be irreversible.
‘We have seen what happens when this virus gets going and we are seeing it getting going right now on the continent and in other parts of the world, some of the scenes are really appalling.
‘And we want to get out of this safely and irreversibly and that is why we set out the roadmap.’
Elsewhere, the most recent numbers from the Covid Symptom Study complimented information launched by NHS Test and Trace right this moment, which confirmed the variety of individuals testing optimistic for Covid fell by a fifth to 29,293 between March 25 and March 31 in comparison with the earlier week.
Some 4.8million individuals had been examined at the very least as soon as throughout the week — an 18 per cent fall on the earlier week — as a result of some faculties shut earlier for Easter.
The fall was a important drop off in comparison with the drop seen in the earlier week (one per cent) and the week earlier than that (5 per cent), suggesting circumstances are starting to fall at an elevated price once more.
Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London and the lead scientist on the Covid Symptom Study, stated: ‘According to the most recent information, day by day new circumstances of Covid have greater than halved over a seven day interval, with circumstances now under 2,000. These figures are among the many lowest in Europe.
‘Admissions and deaths are additionally persevering with to say no, placing the UK in a similar place to July final 12 months. It’s unlikely that circumstances will proceed to fall at this tempo, however with the vaccinations programme and the climate enhancing, it’s seemingly they may stay low.’
The research estimates one in 1,394 individuals suffered from Covid signs final week, with 1,529 individuals changing into unwell per day in England, in comparison with 316 in Scotland, 79 in Wales and 0 in Northern Ireland.
The figures are primarily based on over a million app customers reporting their signs and so can’t consider individuals who get the virus however do not have signs. It additionally would not embody individuals in hospitals or care properties.
Rates had been lowest in the North East of England, with nobody developed signs, and the East Midlands, the place simply 92 turned unwell every day.
They had been highest in the Yorkshire and the Humber (454) and London (305), whereas the East of England was the one different space of the nation to see lower than a hundred a day (99).
The estimated R price, measuring the variety of individuals contaminated by every particular person with the virus, is near 0.8 in England and Scotland and simply 0.5 in Wales. An R of 1 means the outbreak is neither rising nor shrinking.
SAGE will publish an up to date official estimate of the R price later right this moment. Last week it was considered someplace between 0.8 and 1.
Department of Health information yesterday confirmed official Covid circumstances fell by a third in a week to 2,763 yesterday. But deaths rose barely by two to 45. Hospital admissions are additionally nonetheless falling.
The Office for National Statistics will right this moment publish a new estimate of how many individuals in the nation have the virus.
Last week it was 148,100 — the bottom determine since earlier than the second wave spiralled uncontrolled and down virtually 10 per cent on the earlier seven-day spell.
Falling case numbers and the continued success of the vaccine rollout have prompted some Tory figures to induce Mr Johnson to hurry up the exit from lockdown.
More than 31.7million Britons – or three in 5 adults – have now obtained their first dose of the Covid vaccine. A 24-year-old carer turned the primary particular person to get the Moderna Covid vaccine in the UK right this moment
But deaths rose barely after 45 had been recorded, which was two greater than the identical time the week earlier than
Britain right this moment noticed its Covid circumstances dip by a third week-on-week after recording 2,763, in comparison with the 4,052 from final week
More than HALF of people that check optimistic for Covid haven’t any signs – however fatigue is nonetheless commonest signal, official information reveals
More than half of people that check optimistic for Covid in the UK undergo no signs, official figures revealed right this moment.
Office for National Statistics information confirmed 53 per cent of these identified with the virus stated they’d no warning indicators — together with a fever or cough.
The survey — which checked out 10,000 individuals throughout the UK between December and March — recommended asymptomatic transmission is extra frequent than beforehand feared.
Experts have beforehand stated they imagine symptomless individuals account for a third of all new infections.
Among people who did have signs, the ONS information confirmed fatigue was essentially the most generally reported symptom, adopted by a headache and a cough.
The NHS solely lists a temperature, new steady cough and lack of style and odor as tell-tale indicators of the virus.
Yet fewer than a fifth (18 per cent) of individuals reported a loss or style of odor as their solely symptom.
Health chiefs have been repeatedly criticised for not together with the wide-range of uncomfortable side effects which have been linked to the illness.
Sir Iain advised MailOnline he believes the timetable for unlocking the nation is ‘already lengthy and I feel it must be faster’.
‘I feel we must be opening up hospitality inside not simply exterior subsequent week, or actually very shut thereafter after which different stuff cascading immediately as a results of that,’ he stated.
‘Instead of which I think we are sort of in a peculiar place where we are so cautious now that the idea we were following the data is not correct.
‘We are following assumptions and forecasts. We are not following the data and that has meant therefore that our dates are deeply pessimistic because we are following forecasts.’
Sir Iain stated there had been a ‘massive reduction’ in issues like hospital occupancy since January whereas proof of the impression of the vaccine is more and more optimistic.
He stated: ‘If you look at all of that, take that as your forecast, where does that take you? And the answer is it takes you to the point where the vaccines are functioning, working, doing their best and there is no evidence of any reason why it should be otherwise so let’s unlock.’
Mr Hancock confronted a backlash this week after he claimed a multi-billion pound plan to check everybody for coronavirus twice a week is the one means ‘again to normality’ — regardless of fears a surge in ‘false positives’ might really derail the lockdown easing.
The PM and Health Secretary introduced a large growth of testing with free speedy kits made obtainable to everybody in England from tomorrow.
But Prof Spector warned individuals to substantiate optimistic speedy check outcomes with a full NHS PCR check to stop false positives biasing case information and making the pandemic appear bigger than it is.
He stated: ‘This week the federal government introduced plans to make home-based lateral circulation checks accessible as a tactic to catch extra circumstances.
‘According to our personal information, 5 in 1000 of those checks give a false optimistic end result, so we’re encouraging individuals to take a lateral circulation check at the very least twice if optimistic and make sure it with a full NHS PCR check.
‘However, individuals additionally must know all of the 20 signs, together with sore throat, headache and fatigue, not simply the basic three. So for those who really feel unwell with any of the signs of Covid, keep at dwelling and get a check.’
NHS Test and Trace information right this moment confirmed the variety of individuals testing optimistic for the virus is starting to fall at a quicker price once more, dropping for the twelfth week in a row.
Positive checks fell from round 37,000 to 29,000 in the weeks March 18 to 24 and March 24 to 31 respectively — a drop of 20.9 per cent.
The fall comes after a interval of levelling off, with the latest information displaying falls fell 5 per cent and one per cent in the 2 weeks earlier than hand as youngsters returned to the school rooms and testing ballooned.
But check numbers did fall in the latest week, contributing to the massive drop in optimistic circumstances. The variety of checks fell from 5.8million to 4.8million, as some shool youngsters started their Easter vacation, after peaking at 6.2million in the week from March 11 to March 17.
The positivity price — a higher measure of the pandemic when testing jumps considerably — reveals the proportion of checks that had been optimistic in the latest week has continued to fall.
Just 0.61 per cent of checks had been optimistic in the week ending March 31, down from 0.63 per cent the week earlier than. This determine peaked at 16.7 per cent in the peak of the second wave from December 24 to 30.