Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 1 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Greater Manchester and Bedfordshire are likely to be England’s Covid hotspots in the coming weeks, scientists have predicted as cases continue to surge in areas where the Indian variant is rife. 

A map by Imperial College London Covid experts suggests more boroughs of Greater Manchester – including the city itself, Bury and Burnley – will see infections spike in the first weeks of June. Blackburn, Bolton and Rossendale are already hotspots in the North West, which has the highest rates in the country, it shows.

Nationally, however, a major swab-testing survey found there were fewer than 50,000 people infected with Covid on any given day in England last week with just one in 1,120 testing positive.

Despite being very similar to the previous estimate, the weekly Office for National Statistics report said: ‘There are potential signs of an increase in the two weeks ending 22 May.’

Meanwhile, No10’s top advisers said today the R rate of the virus is at least 1.0 in England, meaning the outbreak is growing again. It is the first time since January the figure has been higher than one.

Nudging up to a possible high of 1.1, the average number of people getting infected was expected to spike again with the easing of lockdown restrictions. But vaccines should limit how high it can go and officials will only hit the panic button if hospital admissions spiral out of control.

ONS experts remarked on the spread of the Indian variant, which Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night had become dominant in England and now makes up between 50 and 75 per cent of cases.

The report said: ‘We have seen an increase in cases that are not compatible with the UK variant in England and Scotland; these are likely to be compatible with the variant B.1.617.2, first identified in India.’ 

Signals of how Britain’s outbreak is changing have become more confused over the past week, with official case counts increasing but health chiefs suggesting this could be a result of surge testing in areas where the disease is most prevalent, such as Bolton. Although experts fear the Indian variant will cause a third wave, cases are already dropping in some hotspots.

The prospect of ending lockdown in June hangs in the balance, ministers say.

But there are clear signs vaccines work extremely well against the new fast-spreading strain. Analysis last night showed just three per cent of Brits infected with the Indian Covid variant were fully vaccinated, bolstering hopes that ‘Freedom Day’ can still go ahead. 

Cautious scientists have called for No10 to delay the final step on the roadmap back to normality for at least two months, giving the NHS more time to fully vaccinate millions more adults. 

But business leaders, hospitality chiefs and senior MPs have urged the PM to stick to his Covid roadmap, begging him not to ‘steal our summer’ and warning that any delay would be ‘devastating’ for the economy. 

Manchester city, Bury and Burnley could see infections spike in the first weeks of June, Imperial College researchers said. Blackburn, Bolton and Rossendale are already hotspots in the North West, which has the highest rates in the country

Manchester city, Bury and Burnley could see infections spike in the first weeks of June, Imperial College researchers said. Blackburn, Bolton and Rossendale are already hotspots in the North West, which has the highest rates in the country

Manchester city, Bury and Burnley could see infections spike in the first weeks of June, Imperial College researchers said. Blackburn, Bolton and Rossendale are already hotspots in the North West, which has the highest rates in the country

Predicted hotspots for May 28
Predicted hotspots for June 13
Slide me

MAY LEFT; JUNE RIGHT: Imperial College London researchers predicted that more parts of Greater Manchester will see a rise in Covid infections, as well as Bedfordshire, to become hotspots in June. Cases may also increase in the West Midlands, parts of London and the South East and in Canterbury, the map suggests

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 2 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 2 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

England's R rate - the number of people infected by each coronavirus case - has risen back above one meaning the national outbreak is probably increasing in size again, which was expected to happen as lockdown rules are lifted

England's R rate - the number of people infected by each coronavirus case - has risen back above one meaning the national outbreak is probably increasing in size again, which was expected to happen as lockdown rules are lifted

England’s R rate – the number of people infected by each coronavirus case – has risen back above one meaning the national outbreak is probably increasing in size again, which was expected to happen as lockdown rules are lifted

Matt Hancock is pictured outside 10 Downing Street today after getting grilled by the media over care home testing failings last night

Matt Hancock is pictured outside 10 Downing Street today after getting grilled by the media over care home testing failings last night

Matt Hancock is pictured outside 10 Downing Street today after getting grilled by the media over care home testing failings last night

Imperial’s map analyses trends in positive coronavirus tests to try and work out the probability of certain areas seeing an outbreak in the near future.

It works out hotspots by estimating how likely it is that a place’s infection rate will rise above a certain threshold, which changes depending on the size of the national outbreak.

Areas that have a 75 to 100 per cent probability of having the above-threshold rate are the predicted hotspots.

Its furthest ahead prediction now suggests that, by June 13, Bedford, Kirklees, Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Rossendale, Blackburn and Burnley are all highly likely to be hotspots.

Others that might be include most other boroughs of Greater Manchester, as well as Leicester, Birmingham, Worcester, Reading, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth and Canterbury. 

The ONS report found that there are still only 0.09 per cent of people testing positive for the coronavirus across England, but there are potential signs of an increase since early May, when the percentage was 0.07 per cent.

Across the country signals show a mixed bag, with an apparent rise in cases in the East of England but a decline in the South East.  

The trend for all other regions was ‘uncertain’, the ONS said.

Because the positive test rates are so low it can be particularly different to work out trends over time, the statisticians said. 

This is because small clusters can have a large effect on the overall rate of infection even if they don’t mean there’s a full-blown outbreak in an area.

Only 109 people out of 136,000 tested positive in the most recent survey.   

Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to May 22: around one in 610.

Both the South West and South East had the lowest estimate at around one in 2,900.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 4 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 4 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 6 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 6 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 8 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 8 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 10 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 10 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 12 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 12 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 14 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 14 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 16 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 16 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 18 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 18 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

In Wales, around one in 3,850 people was estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to May 22.

This was up slightly from one in 4,340 in the previous week, but the percentage testing positive ‘continues to be very low, which makes it difficult to identify trends since they are more easily affected by small changes in the number of people testing positive from week to week,’ the ONS said.

UK regulator FINALLY approves Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine – but it won’t be available until later this year 

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine has finally been authorised for use by the UK medicines regulator – but it won’t be available until later this year.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which polices the safety of drugs, today gave the jab the green light, three months after it was first submitted for approval.

No10’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi hailed the jab as another ‘another weapon in our arsenal to beat the pandemic’.

Trials have shown the vaccine – which US regulators approved in February – to be 67 per cent effective at blocking Covid symptoms. Other studies have shown it is even better at preventing patients falling severely ill.

Ministers originally hoped to give the jab to younger adults, with the promise of just one jab thought to appeal to twenty-somethings desperate to return to some degree of normality.

However, the vaccine works in a similar way to AstraZeneca’s and has been linked to blood clots. Belgium yesterday stopped offering the J&J jab to under-40s following the death of a woman who was given it.

Britain has ordered 20million doses but these are not expected to start arriving until mid-summer at the earliest.

Ireland, where the jab has been dished out for several weeks, has warned of ‘serious concerns’ about supply. It is thought most of the supply in EU is made in Germany.

J&J has yet to brag that its vaccine works against the Indian variant, which is growing quickly in Britain. But experts are confident it should still beat the mutant strain, with other jabs known to still be effective.

<!—->

Advertisement

In Northern Ireland there are ‘early signs of a possible increase’, with an estimate of around one in 820 people, up from one in 1,550 in the previous week.

The estimate for Scotland is around one in 630, up from one in 1,960. All figures are for people in private households. 

As the Indian variant continues to rise in dominance in Britain, Boris Johnson has been forced to admit he might delay the end of lockdown if the situation isn’t under control by the middle of June. 

Business leaders have begged him not to ‘steal our summer’ because delaying the full lifting would be ‘devastating’ for the economy but there are concerns a devastating third wave will happen.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today insisted it was ‘impossible’ to know how the situation would unfold over the next fortnight. 

He said ‘there’s nothing in the data that suggests we should move the day’ but refused to rule out local lockdowns and keeping businesses closed in Indian variants hotspots such as Bolton.

Ministers are quietly confident they can press ahead with the route back to normality, given that Britain’s vaccine drive has severed the once impenetrable link between cases and hospitalisations. More than 38million adults have already had one dose, and 24million have had both. 

Matt Hancock last night announced that the Indian Covid variant now makes up between half and three quarters of all cases in the UK.

The Health Secretary said in a Downing Street press conference that the fast-spreading strain is now dominant in Britain, taking over from the Kent variant that had been the most common one since Christmas.

He said the new variant was ‘still spreading and the latest estimates are that more than half and potentially as many as three quarters of all new cases are now of this variant’.

An update from Public Health England showed there have been 6,959 cases of the strain confirmed so far, almost doubling from 3,535 this time last week. It has now been found in 252 local authorities in England out of around 300, showing it has reached most corners of the country. 

Dr Jenny Harries, chief of the UK Health Security Agency, said: ‘In most areas in England we do know that the new variant, the variant that originated in India, is taking the place of the 117 variant, so it’s something we need to watch really carefully.’

A weekly update from Public Health England showed tonight that Bolton in Greater Manchester remains the Indian variant hotspot by a long stretch, with 1,354 cases found there.

Second on the list was Bedford with almost 1,000 fewer than the top spot, at 366. Blackburn, Leicester, Sefton in Merseyside, Wigan, Central Bedfordshire, Manchester and Hillingdon in London have all had more than 100 cases.

While there are dozens of other places where the variant has been seen, almost half have had fewer than five positive tests each and the vast majority have had fewer than 10. 

NHS Test and Trace data yesterday showed the majority of people testing positive for Covid in the UK were in the younger age brackets

NHS Test and Trace data yesterday showed the majority of people testing positive for Covid in the UK were in the younger age brackets

NHS Test and Trace data yesterday showed the majority of people testing positive for Covid in the UK were in the younger age brackets

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 20 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Coronavirus: ONS survey shows 48,500 people in England have coronavirus, down on last week 20 The weekly Office for National Statistics report estimated 48,500 people across England had the virus in the week to May 22, about flat with 49,000 the week earlier.

Nicola Sturgeon keeps Glasgow in Level 3 lockdown for another WEEK as daily Covid cases in Scotland hit highest since March 

Nicola Sturgeon kept Glasgow in high lockdown for another week today as she revealed that the Indian Covid variant has seen cases hit their highest since March.

The First Minister said that the country’s R rate may have risen as high as 1.3 with the new strain accounting for half of cases.

But she added that the evidence pointed to younger people – who are less likely to experience severe illness – being the most affected.

While the current outbreak in Glasgow showed signs of ‘stabilising’ she said it was too early to open it up. Instead it will stay in Level 3 for at least another week, before potentially moving to Level 2.

Glasgow is the only part of Scotland under Level 3 lockdown rules, prohibiting non-essential travel out of the area and imposing greater restrictions on socialising, hospitality and businesses.

Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Friday, the First Minister said there still needed to be a ‘reasonable degree of caution’ exercised across the country.

Case numbers, she said, are on the rise in Scotland, with Friday’s daily case number the highest since March 25.

<!—->

Advertisement

Mr Hancock said: ‘The latest estimates are that more than half and potentially as many as three-quarters of all new cases are now of this variant.

‘As we set out our road map we always expected cases to rise, we must remain vigilant.

‘The aim, of course, is to break the link to hospitalisations and deaths so that cases alone no longer require stringent restrictions on people’s lives.’

He added: ‘The increase in cases remains focused in hotspots and we are doing all we can to tackle this variant wherever it flares up.

‘Over the past six months we now have built a huge testing capacity at our disposal and we are using this to surge testing into the eight hotspot areas and other places where the cases are lower but rising.

‘In the hotspot areas we are surging vaccines, too, for those who are eligible, in Bolton for instance we have done 17,147 vaccinations in the last week.’

Although there are concerns about the variant in Whitehall – Public Health England and SAGE are now convinced it is more infectious than the Kent strain – vaccines appear to be working well against it.

Mr Hancock said that, of 49 people in hospital with the virus in Bolton, only five had been fully vaccinated. Mathematicians said this could mean the jabs are still over 90 per cent effective against the mutated virus.      

The PHE report showed that only two people are confirmed to have died with the Indian variant after having had both of their vaccine doses. Only 177 cases out of 5,599 since February 1 were among fully vaccinated people, and only one of them was admitted to hospital. 

Dr Harries said in a statement: ‘We now know that getting both vaccine doses gives a high degree of protection against this variant and we urge everyone to have the vaccine when the NHS invites you.’ 

PHE’s report showed that, although B1617.2 had only made up around 2.5 per cent of all cases since October, since February it appeared to account for 84 per cent. 

Its report said: ‘Whilst case numbers remain very low, the proportion of cases which are VOC-21APR-02 (B.1.617.2) has continued to increase… VOC-21APR-02 is likely to be the predominant variant in England although there is regional heterogeneity [differences].’ 

Mobile testing units have been sent to areas with large numbers of cases and an extra 400,000 swab test kits have been sent to the worst-hit places, with the Army dishing them out on the streets in Bolton.

Boss at the NHS Providers union, Saffron Cordery, said the new figures were ‘deeply concerning’ and added: ‘Data on hospital cases seems to be focused amongst those patients who either haven’t been vaccinated yet or had just one vaccine. 

‘This hammers home just how important it is get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We urge everyone to get their jabs when they’re offered them.’ 

‘I don’t think we will move the date’: Cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng is bullish on June 21 ‘freedom day’ saying ‘nothing in the data’ to change roadmap – but warns there are ‘no guarantees’ 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today insisted it was 'impossible' to know how the situation would unfold over the next fortnight but he expected the June 21 unlocking to go ahead

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today insisted it was 'impossible' to know how the situation would unfold over the next fortnight but he expected the June 21 unlocking to go ahead

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today insisted it was ‘impossible’ to know how the situation would unfold over the next fortnight but he expected the June 21 unlocking to go ahead

Kwasi Kwarteng today insisted June 21 ‘freedom day’ is still on track despite concerns over rising Covid case rates – but stressed there are ‘no guarantees’.

The Business Secretary said there is ‘nothing in the data’ so far that suggests the schedule will need to be pushed back, even though the Indian strain is now dominant.

In a round of interviews, Mr Kwarteng pointed at the vaccine rollout and evidence that jabs still give protection against the new strain. But he also cautioned that ministers will not hesitate to change course if it is not ‘safe’ to unlock.

Mounting questions have been asked about the government’s schedule, with the latest infection figures showing a rise of more than a fifth in a week. However, hospitalisations have not been increasing at the same pace.

Mr Kwarteng told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Nothing I’ve seen would suggest that we should extend or delay the date of reopening. But the caveat obviously is the data can change.

‘If scientific evidence, data points to an increased hospitalisation rate, increased degree of risk then we have flexibility to move that date.

‘But as of today I can assure people there is nothing in the data that suggests to me we should move the date.’

Mr Kwarteng said that a single jab provides a ‘considerable degree of protection’, and stressed the rollout should have progressed further by June 21.

‘I don’t think we will move the date. But I can’t guarantee that… I can’t guarantee that in three and a half weeks’ time we will be able to reopen,’ he said.

The bullish stance came as official data suggested just three per cent of Brits infected with the Indian Covid variant were fully vaccinated.

<!—->

Advertisement

Click here to read more from article Source

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.