- Department of Health figures show both case and deaths counts have dropped 25 per cent week-on-week
- It was also revealed that 10million vulnerable Britons have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine
- A surveillance study revealed today around one in seven people in England had antibodies by mid-JanuaryCoronavirus cases are continuing to fall across the UK as officials today recorded another 19,202 infections and 1,322 fatalities.
Department of Health figures show both daily counts have dropped 25 per cent week-on-week as the lockdown continues to thwart the spread of the virus.
In yet another glimmer of hope, it was also revealed that 10million vulnerable Britons have now had their first dose of a vaccine. Ministers have pledged to inoculate 13.9million of the most at-risk people by mid-February, in the hopes of easing lockdown restrictions from the start of March.Boris Johnson — who is under growing pressure to commit to easing the lockdown in England — is set to address the nation this evening.
The Prime Minister, who will be flanked by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, is likely to brag about the UK's vaccine roll-out and hail the findings of a landmark study yesterday that found a single dose of Oxford's Covid jab is 76 per cent effective after 12 weeks and that two doses can curb transmission.
The figures comes after a major surveillance study revealed today around one in seven people in England — the equivalent of 8.6million — had coronavirus antibodies by mid-January.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) tested the blood of more than 1,300 people across the country and found 15.3 per cent tested positive for antibodies — up from 10 per cent in December. The proportion was as high as 21 per cent in London.
Antibodies are substances made by the immune system in response to infection or vaccinations which defend against viruses. The presence of them in the blood generally means someone has either partial or total immunity against catching a disease again.
But the figures could easily be an under-estimate because antibody levels fade over time and some people won't ever develop any. Scientists believe most people have high levels of antibodies for six months after an infection but to what extend they fade after then remains a mystery because there has not been a long enough time to follow up.