A new study revealed that the declining rate of coronavirus transmissions in England is starting to slow on Thursday with a slight increase in three areas.
The REACT1 study, conducted by Imperial College London, collected swab samples from residents and found that from January to February the rate of transmission halved in 15 days. But it has since halved in 31 days, suggesting the decline is slowing by just over half.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged the public to remain vigilant and continue abiding by government rules to prevent a reversal of the success in reducing deaths and infections.
“There is some cause for concern that our hard-won progress may be slowing down, and even reversing in some regions so it is important we remain vigilant – this is on all of us,” said Hancock.
“We have set out a cautious, but irreversible approach to easing restrictions but until we reach each milestone, we must all remember the virus is still here, and still dangerous. Please continue to stay at home – practise hands, face, space – and get your jab when you receive your invite so we can bring down infections further.”
The study showed the rate of transmission increased in London as well as the South-East and the Midlands.
The government is currently searching for someone who contracted the Brazilian variant in the southeast and has focused its search on more than 300 households.
On Monday, six cases of the Brazilian variant were detected in the UK, three in England and three in Scotland.
On Thursday, 6,573 people tested positive, bringing the total this week to 46,796. It represents a 34.4% decrease when compared to the last seven days.
A total of 242 deaths were reported within 28 days of testing positive for the virus on Thursday. Between February 26 and March 4, there were 1,783 deaths within 28 days of testing – a 33.6% decrease in comparison to the previous week.
And 20,982,571 people were administered their first dose of the vaccine by the end of March 3, with 963,862 receiving a second shot. Vaccines are currently administered in two doses 21 days apart.
The latest R range for the UK stands at 0.6-0.9, with the current growth rate at -6% to -3% per day.
The R number is a mechanism used to rate the virus’s ability to spread, with R being the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.
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