The number of coronavirus cases continued to fall in the UK today as infections fell 44 percent in a week and deaths fell by almost a tenth.
Another 81,713 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to government dashboard data, down nearly half from last week’s figure.
The number of deaths is also decreasing. Another 287 were registered today in an eight percent drop compared to last Saturday.
Daily hospital admissions have remained flat, with the latest data pointing to 2,423 new admissions as of Jan. 10, down less than one percent from the previous week.
Despite the encouraging data, health chiefs remained cautious earlier in the day, saying daily infections in London, the south east and east of England are turning into a ‘plateau’.
dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said parts of the UK are seeing a decline in infections.
But she added that the number of cases was still relatively high, with one in 15 people in England infected and one in 20 elsewhere in the UK, but there had been a ‘delay’ in hospital admissions.
Other experts said the decline in cases is “reason for optimism” as the Welsh government began to ease restrictions.
Another 81,713 positive tests were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to government dashboard data, representing a 44 percent drop from last week’s figure.
The number of deaths is also decreasing. Another 287 were registered today in an eight percent drop compared to last Saturday
Daily hospital admissions also remained flat with 2,423 new admissions as of Jan. 10, the last date with data, which was down less than one percent from the previous week.
dr. Hopkins said: ‘We see infections rising in the community, which is good, in London and the South East and East of England.
“There are still increases, but much slower in the north of the country.
“All of this means we’re seeing a slowdown in hospital admissions, but right now it’s slowing down rather than reversing, so there are still over 2,000 hospital admissions in the UK, and almost 2,500 yesterday.”
She said hospitals could have discharged patients ‘faster’ because Omicron was milder than previous coronavirus variants, but that, with around 15,500 people hospitalized last week, the NHS remains under ‘a lot of pressure’, with some trusts ‘unable to to do much of their elective care’, a situation exacerbated by staff absences.
Prof. dr. Linda Bauld, a public health professor at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish government’s chief social policy adviser, said Omicron cases in the UK have ‘stabilised’.
She told BBC Breakfast: ‘When we look at it, cases drop by more than 20%.
“Actually, yesterday I think was the last day, the first day in a while that we’ve had less than 100,000 cases, so it seems to be going in the right direction.”
However, she warned that the number of patients in hospitals was still “very high.”
dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said parts of the UK are seeing a decline in infections
Prof Linda Bauld (left), a public health professor at the University of Edinburgh, said Omicron cases in the UK have “stabilised,” while Dr Chris Smith (right), a virologist consultant and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, said current coronavirus data gives him ‘great cause for optimism’
She added: “I think we have more data this week that points to more optimism, and let’s hope that as we move forward that trajectory will be consistent and we can feel that we’ve been through a really, really rough time.” . ‘
dr. Chris Smith, a consultant virologist and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, said the current coronavirus data gives him “great cause for optimism”.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘The number of people going to intensive care or on mechanical ventilation beds is actually falling. It stayed flat.’
He added that, due to vaccines and reinfections, about 96% of the country now has antibodies to the coronavirus, meaning the vast majority of people are better able to “fight off” the disease.
dr. Smith said, “So we don’t see that strong correlation of things turning into consequences.”
Falling patient numbers and a decline in the number of patients in intensive care beds have meant that Wales will have to scale down from alarm level two to zero in the coming weeks.
As a first step, the number of people who can attend outdoor events in Wales has increased from 50 to 500 from Saturday.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland has said restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted next Monday.
She added that all measures, including closing nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.
And in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Paul Givan said the Stormont Executive could begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions next week.