The rate of Covid-19 infections may be falling, preliminary results from the largest coronavirus study in England have suggested, despite the UK’s top scientists yesterday warning that “we don’t have this under control at the moment“.
A new study by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori showed the R rate across the country has fallen from 1.7 to 1.1 since the start of the month.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the study, said that the latest data showed new measures put in place last week to curb the spread of the virus, including the rule of six and the controversial 10pm curfew, seemed to be pushing the R rate down.
However, he stressed that despite an apparent drop in the rate of infections, the prevalence of the virus in England is still the highest recorded to date.
“This reinforces the need for protective measures to limit the spread of the disease and the public’s adherence to these, which will be vital to minimise further significant illness and loss of life from Covid-19,” he added.
The figures showed around one in 200 people were infected with coronavirus.
The most recent data was taken from tests on 80,000 volunteers between 18 to 26 September, and compared to a previous analysis from 24 August to 7 September.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning told the House of Commons that social restrictions such as 10pm closing times was having an effect in driving infection rates down.
“There are some signs that what we are doing is working…so don’t let up,” he said.
However, Hancock’s comments came despite the government’s chief scientific adviser yesterday warning the nation that “we don’t have this under control at the moment”.
Sir Patrick Vallance said: “It is very clear that rates are still going up,” prompting the Prime Minister to warn that he would “not hesitate” to impose further restrictions if needed.
It comes as the latest UK coronavirus figures showed there were a further 7,108 cases and 71 deaths in the country yesterday.