Covid: Positive coronavirus tests in England drop to lowest weekly figure since September

The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 across England has fallen to the lowest level since September, according to the latest figures.

NHS Test & Trace data showed that a total of 45,229 people tested positive for coronavirus in England at least once in the week to March 3.

This is down 34% on the previous week and is the lowest number since the week to September 23.

It comes as the number of people in England waiting to start hospital treatment has risen to a new record high.

A total of 4.59 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of January 2021, according to figures from NHS England.

This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

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A total of 88.7% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending March 3 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called "in-person" test - received their result within 24 hours.

This is up from 82.9% in the previous week, and is the highest figure since the week to July 8, 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June 2020, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 he would get "all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that".