Covid infection rates at lowest level in eight months

The lowest number of people in eight months tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of May, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Around one in 1,340 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the first week of May, down from one in 1,180 the previous week, the lowest figure since the week to September 5 2020, when the estimate stood at one in 1,400.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw the highest number of people test positive for Covid-19 in the week to May 8, although these areas, too, saw a decrease in the percentage of people testing positive.

Despite the fall in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in the North West, East Midlands and the South East in the two weeks up to 8 May 2021, the figures became uncertain when only considering the week ending 8 May 2021.

It comes as concerns were raised that the June relaxation of coronavirus restrictions could be delayed if a surge of infections caused by the Indian Covid-19 variant is not stopped.


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A campaign of surge testing and genome sequencing (which can identify new variants) is being carried out in a number of areas where the Indian strain has been found in a bid to isolate all cases.

Infections rates fell among 35-49 year olds.In Wales, around one in 4,230 is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to May 8 – down from one in 2,070 in the previous week, and the lowest since ONS estimates began in late July 2020.

Surge testing is expected to be deployed where there is evidence of community transmission Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

In Northern Ireland, the estimate is around one in 1,430 people, down from one in 750 in the previous week.

The estimate for Scotland is around one in 1,250, down from one in 760 and the lowest since estimates began for Scotland in October.

All figures are for people in private households.

Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the COVID-19 Infection Survey, said: “It’s encouraging that infection rates continue to head in the right direction; in England infections are now below 4% of the level seen at the start of the year.

“It is really important that we continue to closely monitor infection rates as further lifting of lockdown restrictions take place.”


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