Official data today showed that Britain’s Covid crisis is continuing to shrink, with daily Covid cases dropping week-on–week for the sixth consecutive day.

The 43,467 coronavirus infections reported by the Department of Health in the last 24 hour were down 12 percent from the 49,298 last Friday.

Deaths also remained relatively flat, rising just 3.3 per cent to 186 today. Last Friday, 180 people were infected with the virus.

And the amount of people hospitalised with Covid fell 2.5 per cent to 1,038 on Monday, the latest date data is available for.

Separate data, however, was released today showing that more than a quarter of a million people in England were infected during the week before half-term.

Bosses at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate around one in 50 people — the equivalent of 1,102,800 — would have tested positive on any given day during the seven-day spell ending October 22. It claims that infections have risen by almost 13% in a single week, an increase not seen since the worst days of Britain’s pandemic crisis early January. 

Separate data from the UK Health Security Agency (which took over from the now-defunct PHE) today showed that the R rate rose as well. It is now believed to be between 1.1 and 1.3, an increase of 1.0 to 1.2. It means that for every 10 people infected with the virus, between 11 to 13 others will also get it.

Both estimates are based upon old data, and new Government statistics show that the country’s epidemic has already begun to shrink, even before half-term. 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show 1.1million ¿ around one in 50 ¿ people had the virus on any given day in the week ending October 22

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show 1.1million — around one in 50 — people had the virus on any given day in the week ending October 22

The UKHSA estimates the R rate was highest in the South East (1.1 to 1.4), followed by the East of England (1.1 to 1.3). London, the Midlands, the North West and North East and Yorkshire all had rates of between 1.0 and 1.2

The UKHSA estimates that the R rate was highest (1.1 to 1.5) in the South East, followed by the East of England (1.1.1 to 1.3). Rates of between 1.0 to 1.2 were found in London, the Midlands and North West, North East, Yorkshire, and the North West.

Separate data from the UK Health Security Agency, which took over from the now-defunct PHE, today showed the the R rate also rose and is now thought to be around 1.1 to 1.3, up from 1.0 to 1.2

Separate data today from the UK Health Security Agency which took over the now-defunct PHE showed that the R Rate also rose. It now stands at 1.1 to1.3, an increase of 1.0 to1.2

Sage experts warn that future coronavirus outbreaks cannot be ruled out 

Scientists at the Government have stated that further coronavirus waves cannot yet be ruled out, and there is uncertainty about how the pandemic will play out in the first half next year.

The optimistic projections of Imperial College London suggest that current levels in population protection combined with booster vaccinations should keep the epidemic at levels similar or lower to those currently observed.

However, the pessimistic projections of people mixing, or the underlying assumptions about how long immunity lasts, project a substantial surge in total infections, hospitalisations & deaths, totalling 9,900 by the end March next year.

The projections were made by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (“Sage”) on Friday.

A University of Warwick paper looks at transmission and the virus through June next year. It examines the effect of waning vaccine efficacy, boosters, and other factors.

Scientists say that further waves of infection are not possible and there is still uncertainty about the long-term dynamics.

Many scenarios project a slow decline of hospital admissions and deaths through the remainder of 2021. 

Other coronavirus developments

  • SAGE expert says further coronavirus wave cannot be ruled and there is uncertainty as to how the pandemic will unfold into the first half year of next year. 
  • Official data showed England’s Covid vaccine drive for children is going even slower than thought, prompting calls for the NHS to speed up the roll out over fears it could leave No10 with no option but to resort to Plan B;
  • Health chiefs today claimed Covid vaccines appear to work just as well against the more transmissible Delta variant offshoot as they do on its ancestor;
  • Jeremy Hunt, former Health Secretary said ministers should not be afraid to ‘Uturn’ and act more decisively and sooner’ than they want to in relation to Covid restrictions.
  • Yesterday Sir Patrick Vallance called on Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, to ‘harden and early’ impose Covid restrictions when there is a chance of infections returning in the UK. 

Today’s Government figures take Britain’s total Covid death toll to 140,392, with more than 8.98million having been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic.

No10’s advisors stated that it was likely that children would lose their cases because they had built up immunity after the back-to class wave. Half-term, they claimed, would act as an indoor fire-breaker and stop children from mixing indoors. 

‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist who sits on SAGE, yesterday argued Plan B — which would see the return of face masks and work from home guidance if the NHS becomes overwhelmed — ‘shouldn’t be necessary’, if cases keep dropping and the booster roll-out continues at speed. 

Separate data from yesterday’s largest symptom-tracking survey in the country suggested that Britain is ‘worryingly close to’ recording 100,000 new Covid infections each day. Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist, suggested that the official Government daily count may be greatly underestimating the extent and severity of Covid prevalence. 

It comes as Health Minister Sajid Javid today asked all secondary school students and college students to be tested regardless of symptoms before returning to school next week. According to ONS data, 9.1% of children aged 7-11 had the virus last week.

Mr Javid stated that it was vital that people are undergoing rapid, free tests to detect Covid infections.

The ONS said rates have increased in all age groups except for those from school year 12 to age 24 and for those aged 25 to 34, where the trend was uncertain

The ONS stated that rates have increased in all age categories except those from school year 12 to 24 and those 25 to 34, where there was uncertainty.

The percentage of people testing positive for Covid is estimated to have increased in all regions of England except north-east England, north-west England and Yorkshire and the Humber, where the trend was uncertain

The percentage of people who tested positive for Covid has increased in all regions of England, except north-east England, northwest England and Yorkshire and Humber, where the trend is uncertain

Data shows that less than 20% of England’s 12-15-year-olds have received their first Covid vaccine. 

England’s Covid vaccine drive for children is going even slower than thought, according to official data that has prompted calls for the NHS to speed up the roll out over fears it could leave No10 with no option but to resort to Plan B.

Only 19.3% of 12-15 year-olds have volunteered for their first jab, according to Government dashboard figures. This despite the fact that the entire group is eligible since September 20.

Children’s roll-out has been plagued by delays and cancellations. Critics also complained that the decision to allow only children to get jabbed in schools hindered the process. Uptake rates were always expected to be lower in children — who face a tiny risk from Covid and a higher risk of complications from the jab. 

NHS England claimed today that all children had been invited to their first jab. After Whitehall documents leaked, half of the age group was still waiting for a jab offer.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday urged ministers to ‘turbo-charge’ the roll out to avoid another rebound in Covid cases which could force ministers to impose Plan B — bringing back face masks and work from home guidance.

It comes after the US made a move closer to smacking children as young as 5 years old this week. Experts urged Britain to stop following their lead.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia (UAE), stated that today’s ONS numbers only cover the week ending yesterday and do not reflect the recent fall of Covid cases as reported in the Government’s daily updates.

He said, “This data is too early to show whether the daily reported cases have fallen in the last few days represent a decline in infections.” 

“If infections are actually falling in line daily reports, then the earliest that we would see any impact on the ONS databank is next Friday.” 

The ONS estimates that around one in forty people in Wales had Covid during the week ending October 22, an increase of one in 45 in the previous week. This is the highest estimate since July 2020.

The latest estimate from Northern Ireland is one in 75. This is an increase of one in 130 in the previous week but still below the record high one in 40 in August.

The latest estimate for Scotland is one in 75. This is up from one to 90 the week before, but below September’s peak at one in 45. All figures are applicable to individuals living in private households. 

The percentage of people who tested positive for Covid has increased in all regions of England, except the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, where the trend was uncertain.

One in forty South West residents were most likely to test positive for HIV in the week leading up to October 22. This was the highest percentage for any region. London had the lowest proportion of all regions, with around one in 65. 

Professor Jim Naismith, director of Rosalind Franklin Institute at Oxford, stated that the ONS data were very valuable and the best measure of the infection. 

“Proportionality in England increased from one in 55 to around one in fifty between the 22nd October and now it is at one in fifty.” Based on the experience in Scotland, which saw prevalence at one in 45 just weeks before falling, I believe the prevalence in England will have peaked or be very close to that level.

“I would like to point out that London has a lower prevalence. An increase in the national average could have the potential to raise case numbers. 

England's Covid vaccine drive for children is going even more slowly than first thought. An update to official figures on the dashboard revised down the proportion of 12 to 15-year-olds (purple line) that had been inoculated from 22 to 19 per cent

England’s Covid vaccine drive is progressing slower than initially thought. A dashboard update has reduced the percentage of 12-15-year-olds that were inoculated (purple line) from 22 to 19 percent.

The above graph shows the proportion of 12 to 15-year-olds who have got the Covid vaccine in England and Scotland. Scotland's drive has likely surged ahead because children have been able to get their jabs in clinics when the drive began. In England children were only able to get jabs at centres from this week

The graph below shows the Covid vaccination rate in England and Scotland for children between 12 and 15. The drive in Scotland has likely surged because children have been able get their jabs at clinics since the beginning of the drive. From this week, children in England could only get jabs from centres.

Mark Drakeford announces plans to tighten Covid restrictions for Wales 

Wales will tighten Covid restrictions in an effort to reduce hospital admissions.

Adults who have been fully immunized and young children aged 5-17 will be asked not to contact anyone in their home if they are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19.

Persons who have not been vaccinated must remain isolated for 10 days after coming in contact with someone who has, even if they are not close to them, tested positive.

If the case rate is high in your area, you will receive extra support from the head teachers to put in place measures quickly in your school.

Secondary school students and staff will be encouraged to take twice-weekly, lateral flow tests in order to keep coronavirus from entering schools.

The Welsh Government plans to extend the Covid Pass’s use to theatres, cinemas, and concert halls starting in November 15.

The country will however remain at alert level zero.

Mark Drakeford, the First Minister, stated that coronavirus cases have risen to the highest rates since the pandemic began. More people are becoming so sick that they require hospital treatment.

This means that the pandemic is not over. To prevent coronavirus spreading further, we need to take additional action now.

“We hope that this action will help turn the tide of this Delta.

“None of us want to see a return of restrictions, but, if rates keep rising, the Cabinet will have to consider raising alert level at the next review.

“Let’s all work together to reduce the spread coronavirus, keep Wales open, and keep Wales safe.”

The Welsh Government continues to encourage people to work from home whenever possible, and still requires that they cover their faces in public places indoors.


“If England has reached its peak, then other countries will follow suit. I hope so. 1,000 people are dying every week and 1,000 end up in hospital every day. We are very hot.

However, he cautioned that there was ‘less positive news’ in the ONS statistics if England followed the path of Scotland. 

Professor Naismith stated that after weeks of declining prevalence, the prevalence in Scotland has stabilized and may have slightly increased up to one in 75. 

“This bears close observation, if sustained, it suggests that there may be another peak ahead. 

The ONS stated that rates have increased for all age groups, except for those aged 12-24 years and those 25-34 years. This trend is not clear.

The percentage of students in school years 7 through 11 who test positive is the highest.

Ministers are now urging students to be tested before returning to classes next week, in an effort to reduce the number of cases as the country transitions into winter months. 

Mr Javid stated: “Students should take free, quick tests that will help distinguish between those with symptoms and those with Covid infection. 

‘Vaccines are a major defense in our arsenal, alongside testing. 

“We’ve already seen tens to thousands of people between 12 and 17 book in for their Covid vaccinations over half-term at a local vaccine site to get protection before winter, with more children expected next week to come forward for vaccines.

And Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it is vital children carry on testing and getting vaccines in order ‘make sure we can enjoy’ Christmas.

He said: ‘As we start the countdown to Christmas, testing regularly and getting vaccinated is the best thing we can all do to protect education and make sure we can enjoy the best of the season — whether that’s the school nativity or the family gathering over the holidays.

“That’s why i want to encourage every student in secondary school or college take a test before you go back to class next week.

“We have made so much progress in our fight against the virus, and now every test and every shot adds another brick to our wall.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: ‘We should commend and thank young people for taking these regular tests, which are such a vital part of our defences against Covid, alongside vaccination and other behaviours which help keep us all safe – such as keeping areas well ventilated and keeping a distance from each other, particularly where spaces are crowded. 

“Many of your tests will be done at home, so please make use of them before ordering new ones.  

King's College London researchers estimated there were 92,953 people falling ill with the virus on average across the UK last week, up 14 per cent on the previous seven days (blue line).  In the double vaccinated population (red line), cases continued to rise and it is estimated there are currently 26,927 new daily symptomatic cases in the UK, up 16 per cent from the 23,199 daily cases seen last week

King’s College London researchers found that there were 92.953 people who fell ill with the virus in the UK last week. This is an increase of 14 percent over the previous seven days (blueline).  The number of cases in the double-vaccinated population (redline) continued to rise. It is currently estimated that there are 26,927 new daily symptoms in the UK. This is an increase of 16% from the 23,199 daily cases last week.

While cases are increasing in all age groups, the proportion of cases is highest in the blue line (under-18s) with nearly 44,000 infected every day 

All regions of England have high rates of cases, with the highest concentrations in the North West (purpleline), which has more than 2,000 cases per 100,000. 

Covid vaccines work just as well against more transmissible Delta offshoots, early tests show. 

Health chiefs claim that Covid vaccines seem to work as well against the more transmissible Delta variant offshoots as they do against its ancestor.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has released a report that shows jabs are effective in stopping people with AY.4.2 from getting symptoms.

For comparison, it is thought that two doses can block approximately 83% of those who fall ill with the original strain. 

UKHSA stated that the preliminary results ‘not indicate a significant decrease in vaccine effectiveness forAY.4.2compared to Delta’, and admitted that the slight drop could be due to chance.

Nearly 24,000 cases of this strain have been detected in Britain. The true number could be as high as 10 times, however, because only a small fraction of confirmed samples are being sequenced by laboratories.

Separate surveillance data shows the variant has now been found in all but a dozen parts of England and makes up one in ten new cases — with its proportion having doubled in the space of a month. 

Although statistics show it is still outcompeting its ancestor’s strain, experts are now questioning whether the subtype is actually more transmissible than Delta. Initial estimates by scientists indicated that the strain was 10 to 15% more infectious. 

Figures show that while the number of cases of the mutant strain is increasing, its curve flattens. It is growing slower than its predecessor at this point in the sequence. 

‘Today, I am calling upon all children to help each other and get tested before they return to the classroom in order to stop the infection. This will ensure that as many children are able to stay in the classroom and continue their education. 

“I want again to thank all our teachers, and all those who work in schools, for helping to keep children safe. 

The UKHSA estimates the R rate was highest in the South East (1.1 to 1.4), followed by the East of England (1.1 to 1.3).

London, the Midlands (North West and North East), Yorkshire, and the North West all had rates between 1.0-1.2. 

The UKHSA stated: “Estimates for South West have been paused till we gain a complete understanding of how the reported incident with the incorrect negative PCR tests results on estimates in that region.”

The R rate should not be taken as a guideline. It is a lagging indicator that only shows the current situation from three weeks ago. 

It comes after ZOE Data yesterday estimated that the UK R-rate is approximately 1.1. On average, one in 56 people becomes ill from the virus. 

Double-vaccinated people continue to have more cases than ever. There are currently 26,927 new symptomatic cases per day in the UK, an increase of 16% from the 23,199 daily cases last week.

The number of cases is high in England in all regions, and the highest in the North West where they exceed 2,000 per 100,000. In total 11,182 people — one in 48 —per day in the region were infected last week.

The South West saw the largest increase in cases, with an increase of around 1,250 to 2,000 per 100 people in a week. One in 51 people was infected with the virus.

Covid prevalence is highest in Wales, with more than 2,250.

Professor Spector stated that ZOE data showed that the UK could have 100,000 new cases earlier than expected, with no sign of a plan B or plan C.

“The ZOE figures are consistently greater than the official confirmed daily case cases because we get results primarily from self-reported flow tests, which are not reported officially.

‘The government raw numbers report on PCR testing for the classical symptoms only, which misses around 40% of cases.

‘ZOE extrapolates data from our sample to predict daily infection in the larger population. 

“With the confirmation of our estimates by the ONS’s fortnightly surveys, it’s evident that the government figures are a large under-estimate. With the highest rates in Western Europe and no room for complacency, there’s no place for complacency.