The prevalence of coronavirus infections in England has halved since March, thanks to the rapid roll-out of vaccines, but new variants remain a threat, according to the results of a closely watched survey released on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday gave the go-ahead for hugs and serving of pints in pubs starting next week after months of strict restrictions as he defined the next phase of easing the pandemic lockdown . Read more
The REACT study, led by scientists at Imperial College London, found that the number of infections fell again with an average of just one in 1,000 people infected.
“Today’s results demonstrate the impact of our incredible vaccination rollout on COVID-19 infection rates across the country,” said Matt Hancock, Minister of Health.
“We are going in the right direction but with variations present we have to continue to be cautious. “
The study does not cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which each have their own case tracking.
The REACT study is one of the largest COVID-19 surveys of its kind in England, with more than 127,000 volunteers tested in England between April 15 and May 3 in the last cycle.
Overall, the national prevalence in England fell to 0.1% from 0.2% in March. The estimated prevalence is similar in all parts of England. Infections are highest among 25-34 year olds at 0.21% and lowest among those over 75 at 0.05%, according to the study.
Data showed that 92% of infections were from variant B.1.1.7, first detected in England last year, and 7.7% from variant B.1.617.2, first identified in India.
Surge tests are underway in parts of England where evidence points to community spread of infections.
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