Coronavirus infections may have peaked in parts of England: study

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LONDON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 has started to level off in some parts of England and may have peaked in others, a major British study showed Friday.

According to data published by the MRC (Medical Research Council) biostatistics unit at Cambridge University, the infection rates appeared to have peaked in the East and West Midlands and are falling in regions including London and the southeast of England.

However, infections are still on the rise in the southwest and the northeast of England.

The latest development came after the introduction of Tier Four restrictions, school holidays and reduced movement over the festive period, according to The Guardian newspaper. It is said that the impact of the national lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began, has yet to become apparent.

Prof Karl Friston of University College London, who sits at the British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said it appeared that new cases had now reached their peak for the nation as a whole.

“It is difficult to directly interpret the reported cases because fluctuations in reported cases depend upon the number of virus tests conducted — and self-selection sampling bias. However, when you model the underlying incidence and prevalence, then it looks as if new cases have now peaked,” he told The Guardian.

Still, experts are calling for continued restrictions to further lower infection levels and to maintain control over transmission as overall virus prevalence remains high and the demand on healthcare services enormous.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases fell in 22 boroughs of London, according to the latest weekly figures which show that the second wave in the British capital appears to have peaked in early January, the Evening Standard newspaper reported Friday.

The biggest drop was in Havering in the week to Jan. 9 of 25.4 per cent, followed by Bromley 25 percent, Kingston 21.8 percent, Richmond 21.6 percent, Sutton 21.5 percent and Merton 18.2 percent.

East London, the hardest hit area of the city, is also seeing falls, with confirmed cases down 15.9 percent in Redbridge, 11.5 percent in Tower Hamlets, 7.6 percent in Barking and Dagenham, and 7.5 percent in Bexley, said the newspaper.

Another 48,682 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 3,260,258, according to official figures released Thursday.

Another 1,248 have died within 28 days of a positive test, and the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 86,015, the data showed.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the 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 develop coronavirus vaccines. Enditem

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