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COVID-19: Virus continues to decline

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The virus continued to halve every 8 to 9 days The virus continued to halve every 8 to 9 days

The UK’s largest testing programme for coronavirus has shown that the virus continued to decline in June.

Findings show a continued reduction in the virus as some restrictions were eased, with the virus spreading even less than in May. The study suggests measures taken to limit transmission in care homes and hospitals are working more effectively. The findings show the virus continued to decline across the country even when some restrictions had been lifted. Despite people having more interaction with people outside their households and non-essential shops reopening, the virus continued to halve every 8 to 9 days during this period.

Read more: COVID-19: Over 95% of tests return next day

‘This research highlights how, thanks to everyone’s efforts and sacrifice, alongside targeted measures to counter the spread of this virus in health and care settings, we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

‘However, we must not be complacent. I urge everyone to get a test if you have symptoms, self-isolate and provide your contacts to NHS Test and Trace so we can continue to keep the virus at bay and get back to normal.’

Read more: Roll-out of two new tests for COVID-19 ahead of winter

The report shows rates of infection fell even further to just under 8 positive cases per 10,000 people between 19 June and 8 July, when some lockdown restrictions had eased. Out of the 159,199 swab tests carried out in those 2 weeks, 123 were positive.

The report builds upon the first which looked at infection during May and showed there were on average 13 positive cases for every 10,000 people during national lockdown.

‘Through our community testing programme, we’re beginning to build a more informed picture of COVID-19 across England,’ said Professor Paul Elliott, Director of the programme at Imperial College London.

‘This surveillance programme is showing us the prevalence of infection between different demographics, age groups and ethnicities as well as giving us insight into how easing lockdown restrictions are affecting the infection rate.’

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