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Fewer than 900 people in England are now getting ill with Covid every day

Fewer than 900 people in England are now getting ill with Covid every day as symptom-tracking app suggests cases have plunged to lowest EVER levels

  • King’s College London scientists estimated only 870 people in England were being infected daily last week
  • This was the lowest level ever, coming below the estimate of 874 daily infections in mid-August
  • Boris Johnson is under pressure to speed up his ‘roadmap’, after pledging to be led by ‘data not dates’ 

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Fewer than 900 people in England are now catching coronavirus every day, according to a symptom-tracking app, the lowest level ever and below estimates for August when there were next to no restrictions.

King’s College London scientists estimated only 870 people suffered a symptomatic infection with the virus every day last week, based on reports from more than a million Britons.

This was the lowest number since estimates began in June, and below the previous low point in mid-August before the burdensome ‘rule of six’ and a flurry of other restrictions came into force.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist who leads the app, said the dropping cases signalled troublesome variants that could make vaccines less effective had not gained a foothold.

He said this was likely down to the successful vaccination programme – which has already jabbed three in five Britons – social distancing, and warmer weather allowing people to spend more time outdoors. 

The ZOE Covid Symptom study relies on Britons reporting symptoms and whether they have tested positive for Covid to estimate the spread of the disease. But it can’t account for asymptomatic cases – which trigger no tell-tale signs of the virus – which officials suggest make up a third of all infections. 

Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to speed-up his roadmap out of lockdown, after promising to be led by ‘data not dates’ when relaxing tight lockdown restrictions. 

The app gives weekly estimates of Covid infections, alongside the Office for National Statistics which publishes predictions based on more than 100,000 swabs. The Department of Health publishes daily figures of the number of cases in the previous 24 hours. 

There are 192 daily coronavirus hospital admissions across the entire UK, according to the most recent figures, down from a peak of 4,500 in January

There are 192 daily coronavirus hospital admissions across the entire UK, according to the most recent figures, down from a peak of 4,500 in January

Professor Spector said he was ‘encouraged’ by the promising figures, which suggested the troublesome variants that could make vaccines less effective were yet to gain a foothold.

‘Rates are down 28 per cent again this week and hopefully we’ll drop below the milestone of 1,000 cases in the next few days towards our record low last year in August. The ONS survey is also now showing downward trends.

‘I am encouraged to see no impact from the South African variant in the areas of Southwark and Lambeth where some expected it to get out of control. 

‘This is likely due to the vaccination programme, the continuation of social distancing measures and the improving weather making it harder now for any new variant to take hold.’

Their estimates showed England’s Covid cases dropped by 30 per cent compared to the previous week, when they predicted 1,271 people were catching the virus every day. Across the UK, they said 1,165 people are being infected daily, down 27 per cent on the previous 1,601.

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