The health secretary has urged people to “remain vigilant” as the decline in coronavirus cases has slowed down across parts of the country and in some regions reversed, latest figures showed.
Imperial College London’s latest React study found the prevalence of Covid across England slumped by two-thirds between 22 January and 13 February.
However, the dramatic decline has lost pace since mid-February, with some regions including London reporting an increase in Covid cases.
Cases fell across three English regions int he second half of February, according to the study. However, there was no apparent change in infection rates in Yorkshire and the Humber, while London, the South East, East Midlands and West Midlands all recorded a slight increase in case rates.
In London, the prevalence of coronavirus rose from 0.53 per cent to 0.66 per cent in the latter half of February.
Commenting on the study, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “There is some cause for concern that our hard-won progress may be slowing down, and even reversing in some regions so it is important we remain vigilant — this is on all of us.
“We have set out a cautious but irreversible approach to easing restrictions, but until we reach each milestone we must all remember the virus is still here, and still dangerous.”
Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said between January and February there was a “substantial drop” in cases across all regions of the country.
But he added: “The prevalence of swab positivity in England continues to fall but the rate of decline has slowed and there are some areas where prevalence may be increasing.
“In London the rate of decline certainly appears to have stopped and there is a possible signature there that it may be going up.”