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12 Mar, 2021 13:55

England's Covid-19 infections continue to fall, hitting lowest rate since September as country prepares to leave lockdown

England's Covid-19 infections continue to fall, hitting lowest rate since September as country prepares to leave lockdown

The rate of Covid-19 infections in England has fallen again to one in 270 in the week ending March 6, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, as the country braces for the easing of its national lockdown.

The survey from the UK's statistics authority shows that England's infection rate has decreased from 220 the previous week and is at its lowest level since September 24, when around 116,600 people had Covid-19.

While a downturn has been witnessed in most English regions, the ONS highlighted “early signs of a possible increase” in infection rates in the South East and South West.

Infection rates in the other three UK nations are lower than England's, with figures still decreasing in Wales and numbers levelling off in Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to the ONS report.

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The positive news comes as England begins the four-step process of exiting its third national lockdown of the pandemic.

Under Step 1, English schools welcomed back pupils on Monday, and by the end of March outdoor gatherings of up to six people will be allowed, as long as infection rates continue to fall.

However, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty urged caution earlier this week, as he warned that the health situation could “turn bad” if the government eased restrictions prematurely.

Whitty said he would “encourage” the public to look to continental Europe, where countries such as France and Italy have been forced back into stricter health measures in recent weeks amid rebounding infection rates.

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