Coronavirus infections fall significantly in England: study

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LONDON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — The number of people infected with coronavirus in England has dropped by more than two thirds since January, but infections still remain high, a major study showed Thursday.

Infections have fallen across the country and several areas experienced a substantial decline, including London and the South East, where five times fewer people are now testing positive compared to previous findings in January, according to data from the REACT (REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission) study of Imperial College London.

But infections are still high with around one in 200 people testing positive, said the study based on swab tests by almost 85,000 people between Feb. 4 and Feb. 13.

The prevalence of infection has also dropped across all ages, at a similar rate, suggesting the downward trends are due to lockdown rather than the impact of vaccination, said the university in a report published on its website.

The highest number of infections are occurring in young people aged five to 12 and 18 to 24, with around one in 110 testing positive in these age groups, said the report.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the program at the university, 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.”

Another 12,718 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,071,185, according to official figures released Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Britain also reported another 738 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain stood at 118,933 on Wednesday. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

The latest figures were revealed as nearly 16 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said the British government would “not rest” until the vaccine was offered to all over-50s by the end of April.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his “roadmap” out of lockdown on Monday next week.

The plan will be based “firmly on a cautious and prudent approach” that ensures the unlocking will be “irreversible”, Johnson said Wednesday. “We want to be going one way from now on.”

England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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