London – The number of people who currently have coronavirus in the UK is continuing to fall, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It suggests around 3.76 million people were infected in the week ending 16 April – roughly one in 17 people.
This is a fall of about 15 per cent the week before – when the figure stood at 4.4 million, or around one in 15 people.
Other ONS data suggests more than 70 per cent of people in England have had coronavirus since the pandemic began.
ONS officials welcomed the overall decline in infection in the UK in recent
weeks, but warned levels of the virus remain high.
The latest study, based on testing by the ONS, gives the clearest available picture of the virus’ spread since free testing ended for most people in England at the beginning of this month.
Some limited free testing for the public will continue in Scotland until the end of April, and in Wales and Northern Ireland until the end of June.
The ONS compiles the data by testing thousands of people at random – whether they have symptoms or not – to estimate how much virus there is in the UK.
Duncan Cook, deputy director for the COVID-19 infection survey, said he welcomed the “continued decrease” in infections across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as Wales, where infections have fallen for the first time in several weeks.
He added it was “encouraging” to see that infections had decreased “in all age groups” across England.
But cautioned: “Despite the decrease in infections, it is important to note that levels remain high. We continue to monitor these going forward.” (BBC)