The number of people with coronavirus has fallen dramatically in the West Midlands.
A Government-backed study published today (Thursday February 18) found 0.33% of the West Midlands population had the coronavirus between February 4 ad February 13. That’s one in 300 people.
That’s a huge fall from the last study, which took place between January 8 and January 22, and found 1.66% of the West Midlands population had the virus – one in 60 people.
There’s been a fall across the country too. In England as a whole, the number with the virus is down from 1.57% of the population to 0.51%. In other words, it’s fallen from one in 64 people to one person in 196.
The infection rate fell in every part of the country. It’s currently highest in the North West and North East, and lowest in the South West.
The good news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to announce a roadmap for ending the lockdown, on Monday. He has stressed that despite falling case numbers, and the success of the vaccine roll-out, the coronavirus infection rate is still too high, and the lockdown is likely to be ended slowly.
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Figures were published by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, which produce regular studies showing the infection rate.
According to the Government, the findings demonstrate the impact lockdown restrictions are having on reducing infections across the country. But Ministers point out that more people in hospital than at the peak of the first coronavirus wave last April, and hospital admissions for COVID-19 are at around 1,600 a day.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “These findings show encouraging signs infections are now heading in the right direction across the country, but we must not drop our guard.
“Cases and hospital admissions remain high – over 20,000 COVID-19 patients are in hospital – so it is vital we all remain vigilant and follow the rules as our vaccination rollout continues at pace.
“I urge everyone to continue to stay at home – remember hands, face, space – and get your jab when you receive your invite.”
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, said: “These encouraging results show that lockdown measures are effectively bringing infections down. It’s reassuring that the reduction in numbers of infections occurred in all ages and in most regions across the country.
“While the trends we’ve observed are good news, we need to all work to keep infections down by sticking to the measures which are designed to protect us and our health system.”