Just one in 600 people in England had Covid last week with infections falling by a FIFTH in seven days to 90,000 as shops, beer gardens and hairdressers reopened
- Office for National Statistics estimated 90,000 people had the virus in England in the week to April 16
- This marked the first time infections have dipped below 100,000 since early September, official data showed
- England eased a raft of restrictions last Monday to allow people to again visit pubs, shops and hairdressers
Just one in around 600 people in England had coronavirus last week as shops, beer gardens and hairdressers reopened, official figures suggest.
The Office for National Statistics estimated 90,000 people had the virus in the week to April 16, the equivalent of one in 620, down by a fifth from the 112,600 the previous week.
It marked the first time weekly infections have fallen below 100,000 since the week ending September 17.
England eased a raft of restrictions last Monday to allow Britons to enjoy a pint or meal outdoors for the first time this year, and again browse shops or visit the hairdressers. The next relaxation – which will see holidays and indoor hospitality permitted – is not set until May 17.
Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to speed up England’s roadmap out of lockdown, as separate promising statistics on hospitalisations show there are now fewer than 2,000 Covid patients in hospitals. There were almost 34,000 in the darkest days of January.
Professor Karol Sikora, an expert in medicine at Buckingham University, today told MailOnline the Prime Minister should start bringing forward his dates for relaxing restrictions now there was less pressure on the NHS.
He added the vaccines – which have already been dished out to 33million Britons – should ensure hospitals don’t suffer the same level of admissions they did at the height of the second wave.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads a symptom-tracking app, added that the positive figures suggested tight restrictions on care homes – where only two named visitors are allowed – should be eased further.
The ONS infection survey is seen as the gold-standard for tracking the outbreak by ministers, because it relies on random swabbing of more than 100,000 Britons.
This means it is able to pick up cases among people who are unlikely to get tested because they don’t want to self-isolate, and asymptomatic infections – which trigger no warning signs – thought to make up a third of all cases.