The number of confirmed cases on Monday was just 1,205, the lowest since March. Daily hospital admissions for people with Covid-19 have also fallen to 519 from 661 a week ago. 

The number of care homes reporting cases has dropped by nearly 50 per cent since last week. The total of confirmed deaths in Britain is now 40,597.

Earlier in the day, the deputy chief scientific adviser, Angela McLean, said she had “danced around the kitchen” when figures were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week showing the prevalence of the virus in the community has fallen by 60 per cent. 

Elsewhere, new modelling by Imperial College suggests 470,000 lives in Britain have been saved by lockdown. 

Although scientists admitted the UK would have achieved herd immunity by now had the virus been allowed to run unchecked, they found it would have had a devastating impact on the population, infecting 71 per cent of Britons.

Dr Samir Bhatt, the study author from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at the Jameel Institute of Imperial, said: “This data suggests that without any interventions such as lockdown and school closures, there could have been many more deaths from Covid-19.

“Some degree of intervention needs to be in place. There is no ‘back to normal’. When you release lockdown and go for milder inventions, yes economic stability can return, but you then have to trade off the rise in infections that is possible.

“Changes to mobility does risk a second wave. The point is to hammer home that if people take behavioural precautions, social distancing still occurs, infected people are taken out of the population, it can offset these changes in mobility by these other interventions.

“The virus is still very much with us, and arguably we’re only at the end of the beginning. Care must be exercised until a treatment or vaccine becomes available.”

The figures also show that around 15 million people were infected in 11 countries, about four per cent of everyone in Europe, which means no country is near herd immunity. 

Researchers said that meant there was a real threat of a second wave if lockdown measures were lifted too quickly.

Dr Seth Flaxman, a senior lecturer at Imperial said: “We would all love to go back to normal life, but our results suggest that precautions remain necessary.

“Claims that this is all over and that we have reached herd immunity can be firmly rejected. We are just at the beginning of the epidemic and we’re very far from herd immunity. The risk of a second wave happening if precautions are abandoned is very real.”

The Imperial paper was published in the journal Nature.

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