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Number of Covid patients plummets as UK nears 'bottom level' of coronavirus
28 April 2021, 20:35 | Updated: 28 April 2021, 20:42
The number of patients in hospital in England with Covid-19 has dropped to its lowest level for seven months.
It comes as the country's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the UK was close reaching the "bottom level" of coronavirus.
A total of 1,310 patients were in hospital in England at 8am on April 27, according to NHS figures.
This is the lowest since 1,299 on September 21, and is down 96% from a record 34,336 on January 18.
During the first wave of the virus, patient numbers peaked at 18,974 on April 12, 2020.
Referring to case numbers across the UK, Prof Van-Tam told a Downing Street press briefing on Wednesday: "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.
"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."
On Wednesday, the Government said a further 29 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 127,480.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 2,166 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.
Prof Van-Tam said that during the peak in early 2021 not many people were vaccinated so the drop in cases, people in hospital and deaths was due to the efforts of the British public.
He added: "Most of the steady decline we have seen, the disappearance of our third wave, has been down to the efforts of the British people in following lockdown.
"The vaccine has undoubtedly helped in the later stages and there is good evidence that the death rate in the elderly has dropped faster than it has in the younger age groups and it has dropped faster than it did in the second wave, and that is undoubtedly a vaccine effect.
"What is important about these vaccines and the vaccine rollout is it really is the way out of getting into trouble of the same size and magnitude ever again, and that's why it's important that this job must get finished."
The latest data on vaccine effectiveness from Public Health England suggests that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines reduce the risk of people over 70 getting symptomatic disease by around 60% after a single dose.
In those aged over 80, protection against hospital admission is around 80%, while the Pfizer vaccine is 85% effective at stopping people in this age group dying from Covid-19.
Both south-east and south-west England are reporting patient numbers down 98% on their second-wave peak, while eastern England has seen its number drop by 97%.
Numbers in the Midlands have fallen 96%, with London, north-west England and the combined region of north-east England and Yorkshire all seeing drops of 95%.
Hospital admissions of patients with Covid-19 are also back to levels last seen in mid-September.
A total of 107 admissions were reported for April 25, NHS England said.
This is down 97% from the peak on January 12.