Britain’s daily Covid cases plummeted 22 per cent today while hospitalisations and deaths fell by a tenth as the Omicron wave continues to subside.
Government data shows another 51,899 people across the home nations tested positive, a drop of more than a fifth in a week. Infections have now dropped to levels seen at the start of December, before the ultra-infectious Omicron variant took off.
The number of Covid-infected people admitted to hospital is down 13.1 per cent in a week. The figure has been falling for more than a fortnight.
And virus fatalities, which have been trending downwards for more than a week, dropped 11.2 per cent in the last seven days.
It comes as figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show that just 11 children died from Covid during the first year of the pandemic.
The virus was mentioned on the death certificates of 13 people under the age of 15 in England and Wales in 2020, and was the underlying cause in 11 of them, according to the ONS.
Ministers last night approved Covid vaccines for all children aged five to 11 after months of deliberation among the Government’s advisers, but the roll-out will proceed on a ‘non-urgent’ basis in acknowledgement of their very low risk.
The daily data from the UK Health Security Agency shows 40,376 people in England tested positive, while 7,144 individuals had an infection confirmed in Scotland. Another 1,352 people cases were detected in Wales and 3,027 people tested positive in Northern Ireland.
Latest testing figures show 17 per cent fewer swabs were carried out across the UK compared to last week.
But the positivity rate — the proportion of swabs that detect the virus — is also trending downwards, suggesting that the fall in cases is genuine and not just down to fewer tests.
Hospitalisation data shows 11,721 people infected with the virus were occupying beds at 8am this morning — the lowest level in seven weeks.
And 303 Covid patients were in intensive care in England today — the fewest in more than seven months.
More than nine in 10 people aged 12 and over have had at least one Covid vaccine, while 84.9 per cent are double-jabbed and two-thirds are boosted.
It comes after ONS data today showed there were 3,015 deaths in England and Wales in 2020 among infants and children aged 28 days to 15 years. This was the lowest number of infant and child deaths since records began in 1980.
Covid was behind less than one per cent of all deaths among children that year, the data suggests. The virus was mentioned on the death certificates of 13 people under the age of 15 in England and Wales in 2020, and was the underlying cause in 11 of them.
While the ONS data only covers 2020, figures from the Government’s own dashboard suggest there have been 65 Covid deaths among children in England since the start of the pandemic.
This dataset is different from the ONS’ because it looks at all deaths within 28 days of a positive test, regardless of the actual cause — meaning theoretically even car crash victims can be included.