London no longer England's Covid hotspot as case rates fall across country

4 February 2021, 16:40

People wearing masks walk by the Thames in central London
People wearing masks walk by the Thames in central London. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The West Midlands has overtaken London as England's Covid hotspot as case rates fall across the country.

The West Midlands had the highest rate of new cases of any region, standing at 319.9 per 100,000 people in the seven days to January 31, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE).

North-west England recorded the second highest rate, down from 379.9 to 281.1, while the lowest rate was in south-west England, down from 237.4 to 172.9.

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Separate PHE figures show that daily cases in 27 out of 32 London boroughs have fallen by a third or more in a week. The rate in the capital peaked at 1,118 cases per 100,000 at the start of lockdown.

Case rates in England are also continuing to fall among all age groups, PHE said.

The highest rate is among 30 to 39-year-olds, which stood at 358.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to January 31, down from 499.5 last week.

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Among 20 to 29-year-olds, the rate dropped from 478.7 to 333.5, and for 40 to 49-year-olds, it fell from 442.5 to 316.0.

For people aged 80 and over, the rate fell from 412.0 to 284.5.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said: “However encouraging it is that case rates and hospitalisations continue to fall across all age groups and regions, it is important to reduce the level of infection in our communities because the rates remain very high.

"We may have passed the peak but must not become complacent. 

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"Dropping our guard at this stage could waste everything we have endured over the last few weeks."

It comes as a further 630 people who tested positive for coronavirus died in hospitals in England, bringing the total number to 74,249.

NHS England said on Thursday the patients were aged between seven and 102. All except 30, aged between 40 and 99, had known underlying health conditions.

The majority of the deaths were on or after January 29.

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