Covid: Infection survey shows cases of coronavirus declining throughout England except the North East

Daily cases of Covid-19 in England have decreased to the lowest level since the end of September, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The percentage of people testing positive has decreased in all English regions except the North East where cases are levelling off.

However, there was no decrease in Wales, the infection survey showed, but there are signs rates are dropping in Scotland.

The figures do not include people staying in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings.

This analysis is based on over 704,000 tests gathered from across the UK over the last six weeks. Samples are taken from people whether they have symptoms or not.

The survey was based on swabs taken from people whether they displayed symptoms or not. Credit: PA


There were an average of 25,700 new cases per day in private households in England between November 22 and 28.

This is down from an estimated 38,900 new cases per day for the period November 8 to 14 and is the lowest estimate since the end of September.

An estimated 521,300 people in private households in England - equivalent to 0.96% of the population - had Covid-19 between November 22 and 28, the ONS said.

This is a drop from 633,000 - 1.16% of the population - estimated to have the virus in the previous period from November 15 to 21.

Rates are still highest in the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber, the ONS said.

Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest rate with an estimated 1.7% testing positive, followed by the North East at 1.6% and north-west England also at 1.6%.

Eastern England has the lowest rate (0.4%).

Rates are estimated to be falling across all age groups but the ONS said rates remain highest among secondary school children (from school years seven to 11) and young adults (under 24s).

In England, the estimates are based on 635,701 swab tests, including a total of 6,669 positive tests, in 5,232 people from 3,979 households.


According to the most recent week of the survey, the percentage of those testing positive in Wales is no longer falling, the ONS said.

From November 22 to 28, an estimated 18,100 people in Wales had Covid-19 equating to 1 in 170 people (0.60% of the population).

This is up slightly from an estimated 16,400 people for the period November 15 to 21, or 0.54% of the population.

In Wales, the estimates for the latest period are based on 19,512 swab tests collected which included a total of 141 positive swabs taken from 112 people from 90 households.

Because of the relatively small number of tests and low number of positives in its Wales sample, results should be interpreted with caution, the ONS added.

Northern Ireland

Positivity rates in Northern Ireland seem to have peaked in the middle of October, the ONS said.

Cases have continued to decrease in the most recent week with an estimated 9,500 people in Northern Ireland having Covid-19 between November 22 and 28, equating to 1 in 190 people (0.5% of the population).

This is down from an estimated 12,700 people (0.69% of the population) in the previous period, November 15 to 21.

For Northern Ireland, 14,229 swab test results were collected of which 117 were positive in 91 people from 67 households.


The ONS said there are "early signs" that positivity rates in Scotland have started to decrease.

In the most recent period, an estimated 40,900 people in Scotland had Covid-19 equating to 1 in 130 people (0.74% of the population).

This is down from 45,700 people, or 0.87% of the population, for November 15 to 21.

In Scotland, the estimates for the latest six-week period are based on 34,836 swab test results collected including a total of 244 positive tests, in 169 people from 129 households.

The survey showed a decrease in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland but rates were levelling in Wales. Credit: PA

Co-head of analysis for the Covid-19 infection survey, Katherine Kent said: "We can now see evidence that the overall level of infection is declining in England.  Rates now seem to be declining in all age groups and all regions across England apart from the North East.

"Elsewhere, we are seeing early signs of decreasing levels in Scotland whilst infections in Northern Ireland have been continuing to decline since October. The level of infections appears to have stopped decreasing in Wales recently.”

The ONS infection survey is not the same as the reproduction number (or R value) which is the average number of secondary infections produced by one infected person, which is published by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

The ONS produces the survey to track coronavirus in the general population and is produced in partnership with the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester, Public Health England and Wellcome Trust.