Covid hope as ONS figures ‘show disease is slowing and lockdown is working’

Scientists believe the spread of coronavirus across the UK is slowing following recent weeks of intensified lockdown.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that the death rate is slowing – with a 7.7 percent increase reported on Sunday, giving rise to hopes that the number of fatalities may be flattening.

While other statistics released by ONS show that the daily case totals, although still rising, are doing so at a slower rate that previous weeks.

The latest numbers come less than two weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson plunged England back into a national lockdown.

While Wales had been in lockdown before England, and Scotland has introduced a five tier system.

NHS England reported 132 deaths in its hospitals, while Wales reported 16 new deaths and Northern Ireland recorded nine.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond featured on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show to discuss the drop in infection rates.

The 66-year-old academic said: “The good news is – yes – we are seeing a slow down in the rate of growth.

“That means we're still increasing and we are now in England at 1.25 per 1,000. That means that one in 85 people in England, we believe, have the virus.

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“In Wales, a little less at one in 100, in Scotland one in 135 and Northern Ireland one in 105. So yes we are continuing to increase the numbers, but the rate of growth is slowing.”

Before England was put into a country-wide lockdown, localised areas had been put into lockdown amid a three-tier system.

Sir Diamond said: "In England, we have huge regional variation.

"We have seen in the North West, the North East and in Yorkshire steady increases, although they have tended to flatten off in recent weeks a little.

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"We have now seen increases in the last week in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and the South East.

"And rates are lower, although slightly increasing, in the rest of the country."

His comments came just hours before Number 10 Downing Street revealed Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced into self-isolation after coming into contact with a Covid-19 positive colleague.

The PM hosted a small meeting with MPs on Thursday, one of which later displayed coronavirus symptoms.

A Number 10 spokesperson told Daily Star Online: ‘“The Prime Minister has today been notified by NHS Test and Trace that he is required to self-isolate as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“The Prime Minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating. He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The spokesman added: “The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19.”

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