Covid infections drop in every nation of the UK, ONS data shows

30 April 2021, 12:32 | Updated: 30 April 2021, 22:03

Covid cases are dropping across the UK, new data shows, despite the nation unlocking
Covid cases are dropping across the UK, new data shows, despite the nation unlocking. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Official statistics released today show a marked reduction in coronavirus infections in private households in every nation of the UK as jabs are offered to everyone over the age of 40.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reinforce consistently positive data about the UK's coronavirus outbreak despite restrictions being eased.

The data suggests just one in 1,010 people in England's private households had Covid-19 more than a week ago - the lowest since September.

The figures, which are down from one in 610 the previous week, mean around 0.10% of people in the community in England were infected in the week to April 24.

In Scotland, it is estimated 8,200 people, or one in 640, had it.

Read more: Covid vaccines cut hospital admissions 'but patients must keep their guard up' - Sage data

Read more: Vaccine rollout extended to all over-40s in England

Wales is thought to have 1,900 cases, or one in 1,570 people, in that period, while Northern Ireland is estimated to have also had 1,900, or one in 940.

All four nations saw the percentage of people testing positive decrease.

Earlier this week, England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam said: "We are really in very low levels that are comparable to where we were in September last year.

"We are running as a typical seven-day average at just over 2,000 people testing positive per day.

Read more: UK close to "bottom levels" of coronavirus - Prof Jonathan Van Tam

"My sense is that probably we are at or close to the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK."

The figures come despite outdoor hospitality and retail returning in England earlier in April.

The vaccine programme, which should help reduce transmission of the virus, is also continuing, with everyone over 40 able to receive a dose.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who received his first jab on Thursday, said: "The UK's vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success so far, with more than 47 million doses administered and one of the highest uptake rates in the world.

"Building on this excellent progress we are now opening up vaccinations to 40 and 41-year-olds.

"I got my jab yesterday and I urge everybody in these age groups to book a jab as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones from this dreadful disease."

More than 34 million first doses and 14 million second jabs have been given out.

Earlier in the week, Mr Hancock said the country was on track to lifting further restrictions from 17 May.

This step will see the Government raise the maximum size of outdoor gatherings to 30 and allow the rule of six, or a maximum of two households, for indoor get-togethers.

Hospitality will resume indoors with table service and entertainment venues including cinemas will be allowed to reopen.

A review of social distancing measures will be undertaken before the next phase of easing, slated for June 21 at the earliest.