Coronavirus infection rates in England are continuing to show signs of levelling off – but the picture across the UK is mixed, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, infections have been decreasing in recent weeks – but in Scotland, they seem to be rising.
After lockdown ends in England, most areas face tougher tier restrictions.
Most will be in tier two – high alert, including London and Liverpool.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the devolved administrations have the power to set their own coronavirus regulations, though all four UK nations have agreed a joint plan for Christmas.
In England, decisions on post-lockdown tiers are based on how fast case rates are falling or rising in different areas, as well as numbers affected in the over-60s.
‘Infected before lockdown’
With the second lockdown having started on 5 November, Prof Kevin McConway, statistics expert from the Open University, says it might seem disappointing that progress to reduce infections hadn’t been faster.
“People continue to give positive test results, on average, for at least 10 days after they were first infected, so some of the people who tested positive in the most recent week would have been infected before the English lockdown began,” he said.
The ONS figures are based on thousands of people tested for the virus in households across the UK, whether they have symptoms or not.
Of those tested in the week to 21 November, one person tested positive out of every:
- 85 in England
- 115 in Scotland
- 145 in Northern Ireland
- 185 in Wales