Coronavirus UK: Data suggests infections are gradually weakening

According to official data, coronavirus cases in the UK could gradually ease due to the national lockdown as warnings mount that rules may need to be tightened.

The Department of Health today announced an additional 46,169 positive coronavirus tests, the lowest since December 28.

The average number of cases, counted from the date the swab was removed, has now dropped two days in a row from a high of 59,660 on Saturday to 57,851.

Government officials today warned that if people don't follow lockdown rules may need to tighten, and fear that too many are "relaxing" the restrictions.

However, there is evidence that the lockout rate is lowering the rate of infection.

Tier 4, however, did not appear to have the desired effect in London, south-east and east of England, where cases continued to increase in most areas over Christmas despite the tough crackdown over two weeks.

Only 11 out of 315 counties in England saw their infection rates decline in the first week of this year through January 5, data from Public Health England shows – just 3.5 percent.

An even stricter national lockdown, requiring everyone to work from home if they can't, and schools across the country are closed to most students, has replaced local restrictions and could go on for an additional six weeks or longer.

Vaccinations are now the country's only hope of ending the relentless cycle of lockdowns. So far, 2.3 million people have been vaccinated and a total of 2.6 million doses have been given.

The NHS appears to have already achieved Boris Johnson's goal of managing 200,000 doses a day by the end of next week.

Public Health England numbers showed early signs that Tier 4 was working, but that progress may have been too slow to avoid a national lockdown.

The data shows that infection rates per person rose in 307 out of 315 counties across the country for the week ending Jan. 5.

Cases had declined in only 11 areas after Christmas when the second wave peaked, and most of those areas were in Tier 4 lockdowns.

But the drops have been small and infection rates high, suggesting that politicians and officials didn't see enough improvement in local rules to gamble on postponing a national lockdown.

In some parts of the country, cases still doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled in the first week of the year, despite stricter lockdown rules from Boxing Day.

In the week ending January 5, cases were reported in Ashford and Tonbridge, as well as Malling, Kent. St. Albans, Three Rivers and Hertsmere in Hertfordshire; Rochford and Brentwood in Essex; Richmond upon Thames; Chiltern in Buckinghamshire; and North Kesteven and West Lindsey in Lincolnshire.

All of these areas were in Tier 4 as of Boxing Day or earlier.

The biggest drops were seen in Three Rivers and West Lindsey, where cases fell 10 percent in the first week of 2021.

The decrease was nine percent in Chiltern and eight percent in Richmond.

But all areas except West Lindsey still had rates of around 500 cases per 100,000 or more, meaning 0.5 percent of the population was still getting infected every week. Declines in positive rates, but the numbers stayed high.

And at the other end of the scale, many local authorities saw high infection rates that rose rapidly.

The worst hit was Copeland, Cumbria, where the rate per 100,000 people quadrupled from 142 to 535.

Infections have tripled in Knowsley and Liverpool, and there have been 19 district councils where rates have doubled or worse this week.

Dozens of other places under the same restrictions made Covid cases continue to rise, raising questions about how quickly the rules were working.

Where were the most common cases at the beginning of January?

Public Health England data for the week ended January 5:

Cases per 100,000 people, December 29th

Cases per 100,000 people, Jan. 5







Isle of Wight


St. Helens























Public Health England data for the week ended January 5:

Cases per 100,000 people, December 29th

Cases per 100,000 people, Jan. 5

Three rivers

West Lindsey





North Kesteven


St. Albans






















Infection rates in London appear to have exceeded Tier 4 and continued to rise at a rate of up to 50 percent per week despite a slowdown over Christmas in early January.

However, national numbers suggest that cases may be under control.

Today's data broke a two-week run of more than 50,000 new cases per day at 46,169.


Matt Hancock announced today that nearly 2.3 million people in the UK have already received a Covid-19 vaccine. Even before the seven UK mass immunization centers opened, the roll-out rate was almost 200,000 shocks per day.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged to hit 200,000 cans a day by Friday, which means the target was apparently reached early. The data shows that the number of people who received their first vaccine dose doubled in a week, from 1.3 million on Sunday to 2.6 million by the end of yesterday.

The sign that the UK's mass vaccination campaign is finally on the rise is welcome news, as is the fact that the number of coronavirus cases has fallen today. Health ministry chiefs announced that an additional 46,169 people received positive test results, down 20 percent in one week and the first reading below 50,000 since December 28.

Ministers today released the plan for the grand introduction of Covid vaccines in the UK, promising to distribute 2 million puffs a week in 2,700 centers across the country by the end of January.

With a successful vaccination campaign number 10, the only hope of ever ending the perennial cycle of hard lockdowns, officials have come under increasing pressure to make it clear how to protect the UK from coronavirus.

The health minister said the plan, which will see 50 mass vaccination centers set up in soccer stadiums and other major venues, "maps our path back to normal".

As part of the plans, teachers and other key staff could be added to the priority queue. Sir Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, claimed today there was a "strong argument" to give them nudges as soon as the first high priority groups, which include everyone over 70, adults with underlying medical conditions, NHS staff and nursing home staff belong, had their bumps.

"Roving" vaccination teams already in use in nursing homes could be asked to go door-to-door in districts with low admission rates.

The document adds that by the end of January everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site. And for those outside of that basin, in very rural areas, the vaccine will be delivered to them via mobile teams.

So far, the UK vaccination program has been plagued by supply and staff shortages, logistical problems and bureaucratic obstacles that have hampered its expansion.

No10 also suggested today that they could set up a round-the-clock jab program if the public wanted – but that it hadn't happened yet because there was no demand for it. But Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi blamed a supply shortage for the lack of 24/7 bursts.

Ministers said an army of over 80,000 trained health workers would be involved in rolling out the vaccine, and more than 200,000 community volunteers said they will help with the non-clinical side of the program.

During a visit to Bristol City Football Club's Ashton Gate Stadium, which has been converted into a vaccine super center, the Prime Minister told reporters: “We cannot be complacent. The worst thing now would be for us to allow success in launching a vaccination program to create any kind of complacency about the state of the pandemic. & # 39;

This will lower the average number of cases calculated over the last seven days for the second day in a row.

Even so, the prolonged period of large numbers of infections, where SAGE believes there have been more than 150,000 new cases per day, will mean hospital admissions and deaths continue to rise for weeks.

The number of hospitalizations is expected to increase for two to three weeks after the infections trend down, and it could take a month or more for the death toll to catch up as the people who contract the virus , die and die.

Cases that start to fall could mean the UK is evading even stricter lockdown rules, however.

Boris Johnson met with cabinet colleagues over the weekend to discuss an even stricter lockdown, with restrictions on exercise, compulsory wearing of masks outdoors and a ban on social bubbles, which ministers are considering.

The Cabinet Office refused to deny that draconian new laws were coming.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to speculate when asked directly whether stricter measures – including curfews and kindergarten closings – could be put in place, saying instead the British should "follow the rules we have".

A Whitehall source told MailOnline that the changes discussed even included introducing a ban on people leaving their homes more than once a week.

According to the rules in place, Britons can train with another person or with their household or their support bubble.

But a government source said the rule was "used as an excuse for people to have coffee with their friends in the park," and could be tightened, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, conducted a series of interviews this morning in which he urged people to strictly obey the rules and not bend them so they could socialize.

He told BBC Radio 4: & # 39;We must be very clear that we are now at the worst part of this epidemic for Britain.

"The new variant undoubtedly makes every situation a little more dangerous than in the previous situation, since the current variant is transmitted in the same way, but the probability of transmission with every interaction has now increased with this new variant."

Analysts believe that half of the people in some districts of East London have already had Covid-19 and the areas may develop herd immunity.

Given that re-infection with Covid seems extremely rare, according to scientists, high past infection rates could cause the virus to spread more slowly in these areas as they are less prone to catch and pass it on.

Infection rates rose in the second wave, meaning hundreds of thousands more survivors developed immunity to the virus that could slow it down in the future.

In the week leading up to Christmas, the per-person infection rate doubled in most parts of London, reaching more than one percent of the population in the worst-hit areas in the east.

And they continued to rise after Christmas and into early January, despite level four restrictions in place for up to two weeks, suggesting that local regulations were not acting fast enough and may spur the government to order a national lockdown before that the virus appeared nationwide and was uncontrollable.

Edge Health estimates that 54 percent of the population in Barking and Dagenham are already infected with coronavirus – more than 100,000 people. Based on the death rates in the counties, the infection rate could be 49 percent in Newham, 43 percent in Redbridge, and 42 percent in Havering.

Professor Neil Ferguson, whose dire forecasts Britain banned for the first time last year, said past infection rates in London – which were also hardest hit by the first wave last spring – will slow transmission in the future.

Scientists estimate that around 80 percent of the population or more must be immune for an area to be protected from outbreaks. However, lower percentages can potentially slow the spread of the disease.

& # 39; Professor Lockdown & # 39; Neil Ferguson told the Sunday Times, & # 39; I think we're going to see slow growth rates … we can see a decline and that can easily be aided by the fact that it's in places like London.

“Maybe 25 or 30 percent of the population is infected in the first and second waves now. So this helps reduce transmission. & # 39;

Values ​​even lower than the herd immunity threshold can slow down the transmission of the virus, as they increase the likelihood that someone who comes into contact with an infected person is already immune.

For example, if there is 30 percent immunity and there is one infected person in a group of 100 people, every time that person meets a group of 10 people, only seven of those people can catch the virus from them. In the same group at the start of the pandemic, probably all 10 would have been at risk by now.

In areas more exposed to the virus, this effect could be even greater.

How Much Harder Could Lockdown Get?

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

The government has a number of options to tighten England's third national lockdown, forcing people to wear masks outside and closing kindergartens.

Other options include banning support bubbles, re-closing places of worship, and even being able to exercise just once a week.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi today voiced concerns that people are not following the rules in supermarkets and exercising closely enough.

There are increasing suggestions that the restrictions may need to be tightened as the government has launched an initiative to ensure the public is abiding by the rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly discussed the prospect of tighter controls to ensure the public was complying with restrictions.

And England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty today urged the public to stay home unless you absolutely have to go out.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned "Any Flex can be fatal" when yesterday he backed police enforcement of the lockdown.

Here MailOnline is exploring some of the ways to tighten the blocking:

Leave the house once a week?

Current training regulations for England mean that you can go out once a day as long as you wish to train alone or with someone else.

However, the government fears that the new lockdown rules will be exploited by people to meet friends for a coffee or an alcoholic drink in the park.

It is currently illegal to meet people "socially" – and you cannot leave your home to rest or relax. eg a picnic or a social meeting ”.

However, rules could be tightened to prevent people from seeing others outdoors – similar to the first few months of the first lockdown in March last year.

A government source told the Daily Telegraph: "Currently, people are using the lockdown waiver to basically connect with friends."

Another restriction could be that exercise is limited to just one hour per day to reduce the number of people someone could come into contact with.

A source has even suggested to MailOnline to limit outdoor exercise to just once a week, though that would be difficult to enforce if people could say they were going out for important purchases.

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, told BBC Radio 4 this morning that casual contact with someone, such as a jogger running past, posed "extremely low risk".

Overnight curfew

There is currently no limit to the time of day people can leave their homes to play sports or other legally permitted activities during lockdown.

However, a curfew is a measure that could be considered to reduce the opportunity for people to meet – and has not yet been ruled out by Boris Johnson.

There would likely be exceptions for key workers traveling to and from work, but public transportation could be reduced during curfew to prevent journeys.

The closest UK to curfew so far is the pub and restaurant opening limit at 10 p.m., which was later extended to 11 p.m., with last orders coming in by 10 p.m.

There are already curfews in other European countries, such as France, where it is active from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. but starts two hours earlier in Marseille and Strasbourg.

Closing of nurseries

In the past few days, union leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for kindergartens across the country to be closed along with elementary and secondary schools.

Most infected children show no symptoms of the coronavirus, and chief medical officer Chris Whitty said today that the risk to children is "very low".

But Sir Keir said kindergartens "should probably be closed", adding, "I think there is a reason to look at kindergartens, we're talking to the scientists about it."

The Early Years Alliance has called on the government to explain how kindergartens can be safe while elementary schools must remain closed.

Schools are currently only open to vulnerable students and children of key workers, and there is a possibility that this could be extended to kindergartens.

However, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has insisted that it is important to keep kindergartens open so that the children's parents can continue to work.

Return to the queue in front of the supermarkets

Shoppers face a return to long queues outside the supermarkets as a new approach is planned. Other deals that are not considered material could be closed.

Ministers have ordered local authorities to limit the number of people who can enter stores at the same time, amid concerns that they could become virus hotspots.

Concerns have been raised about buyers looking for non-essential products in some stores, such as: B. after shopping at Homebase for plants or M & S for clothing.

A Whitehall source suggested there might be a return to capacity limits, saying, "There is a feeling that people are just doing what they want again."

At the start of the first lockdown in March last year, large queues formed in supermarkets and certain products were rationed as customers panicked.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News this morning, "In supermarkets, we need to make sure people are actually wearing masks and following the one-way rule."

Force masks to be worn outdoors

Face masks are mandatory when using public transport indoors, as well as in churches and shops, unless you have an exception. However, this rule can also be extended to outdoor areas.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan last Friday called on the government to make masks compulsory "in the open air in queues, streets and other crowded outdoor spaces".

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, told BBC Radio 4 this morning that there might be certain settings in the open air for people to wear masks.

He said, “For example, when people are huddled in a queue … when they are really huddled around a market stall or something, it's a risk for this virus.

"And people in this situation may have some logic for people thinking about wearing masks, but a much better thing is to minimize going out."

Prohibit support bladders

Support bubbles were first introduced in England on June 13th last year, meaning that adults who live alone can visit someone else's home and stay overnight.

These were triggered due to concerns about the mental health and isolation of those living alone and were absent for the first three months of lockdown.

However, the Emergency Scientific Advisory Group advised against its introduction last May – and the government hasn't ruled out removing it again.

But scrapping them would likely be a deeply unpopular move, especially among those who rely on them as a major source of contact, such as a single elderly grandparent.

The government notes that bubbles are forming in a local household and those who have a child under the age of one as of December 2 last year are considered single adults.

People are allowed to form a support bubble even as single adults if they are 16 or 17 years old and live with others of the same age and without adults.

Close churches

One of the most surprising elements of the third national lockdown is that places of worship were allowed to remain open for private prayer and collective worship.

It is a rare example of multi-household gatherings that are still allowed and a different policy than the ban during the previous two lockdowns.

But London Mayor Sadiq Khan and council presidents have called for the places of worship to be closed again, and that pressure could lead the government to change its policy.

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies has suggested that closing places of worship could lower the R-rate by 0.1, but ministers are reluctant to do so.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said: “It is absolutely essential that the traditions of public worship can continue. I think it's a very important part of the nation's life. & # 39;

Religious leaders have urged people to exercise "tremendous care" in going to a place of worship and advised screeners to stay home if the pandemic intensifies.

In the meantime, pastors have criticized the Church of England for not taking a harder stance on closings, saying that it "makes no sense" for churches to stay open.

Face coverings in offices

Ministers should consider introducing rules that require people to wear masks in workplaces and schools.

According to the government, social distancing, good hygiene, and protective screens are currently the best ways to minimize the risk of the virus appearing at work.

However, community secretary Robert Jenrick said last October that masks "have some use" at work and suggested the government should take this into account.

If this rule were put in place now, it would only affect a small portion of the land that is still in offices – and people are encouraged to work from home when they can.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has said it is seeking advice from scientific and medical experts and is "constantly reviewing" the evidence on masks.

Redefine key workers

Around a third of the UK workforce are key workers, with a total of 10.61 million employees – including NHS workers, food manufacturers, construction workers and warehouse workers.

Other important employees are employees who are required to provide essential financial services, payment service providers and employees in the areas of information technology and data infrastructure.

However, the Independent Sage scientific advisory group has urged the government to narrow the definition of key workers in order to reduce the number of students in the school.

Demand to limit the number of students receiving face-to-face tuition is growing as attendance levels in some schools rise to over 50 percent.

But any key worker unable to work from home will soon be able to have a test twice a week to try to break the chain of transmission through asymptomatic carriers.

Matt Hancock's announcement yesterday will make side flow tests – which take 30 minutes to get a result – an important way to avoid tightening the lock.

Key workers have around 29 contacts with other people every day, seven times as many as someone who works from home. Only one in six key workers can work from home.

Increased enforcement

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned "Any Flex can be fatal" when yesterday he backed police enforcement of the lockdown.

Police have fought to keep the British from breaking the rules as thousands flocked to beauty spots over the weekend, despite warnings of stricter crackdowns.

Officials were told to issue a verbal warning before fined £ 200 on those who break the rules as Home Secretary Priti Patel warned they would not hesitate to take action.

Police chiefs have urged the public to be more responsible and stop trying to find a way around the rules, but enforcement could get tougher.

Prevent craftsmen from visiting homes

One of the few groups of people you can still have around your home are craftsmen, and there are still no restrictions on the type of work they can do.

But the Independent Sage scientific advisory group last week called on the government to allow only craftsmen to enter people's homes for essential work.

The craftsmen who are allowed to continue working include – but are not limited to – people who work in repair services, fitters, readers, plumbers and surveyors.

However, if restrictions are put in place on the type of work they can do, the types of workplaces may be limited, which means, for example, that renovation may not be allowed.

During the initial lockdown, there was confusion as to whether construction workers and traders should consider their work as essential.

But Michael Gove said at the time that construction workers should still be working while artisans could attend emergencies in people's homes.