MOST regions in England have recently gone at least a day without a single Covid death – for the first time in six months.
Five out of nine regions were free of fatalities for a minimum of 24 hours over the past week, while London averaged 1.5 deaths every day over seven days.
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Official figures show there were no virus deaths in the South East, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber or the East of England on Wednesday.
The South West has reported no daily deaths three times in the past week.
It comes as:
It comes as deaths plunged to a five-month low this week as a result of the UK’s strict lockdown and successful jabs rollout, with a daily average of below 80.
That compares to a daily average of more than 1,000 for most of January.
Internal Government estimates suggest deaths will fall below 20 a day in the weeks to come, while the number of people battling Covid in hospital could halve within a fortnight.
And chiefs at Public Health England say cases have dropped in every age group but children, where there has been a rise since schools reopened.
New infections are highest in children aged ten to 19, with around one in every 1,000 testing positive.
But following the jabs roll-out infections are now lowest in people aged 70 to 79.
Another 6,397 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, meaning a total of 4,319,128 have now tested positive in Britain.
And as a result of the UK’s success, the Covid alert level was downgraded from four to three.
NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens said that in mid-January, there were more than 34,000 severely ill patients being treated in hospitals.
The number has now dropped to 4,000.
“Although that is still about 400 more Covid patients than we had this same day a year ago, that is a very sharp decrease,” he said.
The Prime Minister is ditching the ‘stay at home’ rule next week, although holidays are banned, and anyone caught trying to leave the country for a non-essential reason faces a fine.
Millions of Brits were ordered to stay at home under the third national lockdown, working from their own house and unable to meet up with friends in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid.
But Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown has now started to unfold, with the next phase to take place from March 29.
And the next phase also means the “Stay Home” slogan will be axed in England.
The new findings may add pressure to release lockdown earlier.
Figures show Yorkshire and the Humber recorded no daily deaths on Wednesday – the first time since September 8, over 28 weeks ago.
On the same day, the South East, once the epicentre of the disease after the emergence of the super-infectious Kent mutation, recorded zero deaths for the first time since September 22.
The West Midlands and the East of England also had no fatalities.
There were three days in the last week in which the South West recorded no deaths, with 11 registered in total.
London had just one death on both Tuesday and Wednesday, with 11 across the whole week.
However, new figures show 132 of England’s 315 local areas – or 42 per cent – have seen a rise in case rates.
In the Derbyshire Dales, cases per 100,000 people have increased dramatically from 35.9 to 102.3, while in West Lindsey, Lincolnshire, cases are up from 72.3 to 122.3 per 100,000.
Overall, Corby in Northamptonshire has the highest rate in England, with 191.1 cases per 100,000 people.