Covid cases dropping across most of UK but increasing in Northern Ireland

The R rate has fallen to between 0.8 and 1.1, meaning for the first time since April, the outbreak could be shrinking, ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reports

Covid cases are dropping across the majority of the UK, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown.

England, Scotland and Wales all show a decline in the number of positive tests being carried out in the week ending 31 July.

Infections are still rising in Northern Ireland, however, where the Delta variant arrived later.

It is estimated one in 75 people in England will have had Covid up to 31 July down from one in 65 on the previous week.

The data covers the two week period after the easing of all Covid restrictions in England on July 19.

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Meanwhile in Wales it was one in 230 people, down from one in 160, and Scotland showed one in 120, down from one in 110.

It is estimates that 34,400 people in Northern Ireland, or 1.87% of the community population had Covid, equating to around 1 in 55 people, in the same period. 

Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “After rising for some weeks as a result of the Delta variant, it is encouraging that infections have now fallen across England, Wales and Scotland. They are still increasing in Northern Ireland where Delta emerged slightly later.

“Infection rates remain high across the UK, however, and we’ll need to see more data before concluding whether we are over the peak of this current wave.”

It was also confirmed on Friday that 1,467 people were hospitalised with cases of Delta since the last set of data on 19 July.

From the hospitalisations 808 (55.1%) treated were unvaccinated, while 512 (34.9%) had received both doses of the vaccine. 

A further eight cases of the VUI-21JUL-01 variant, first detected in Florida, have also been confirmed.

Furthermore, the coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, in England has fallen and is between 0.8 and 1.1, according to the latest Government figures.

Last week, it was between 1.1 and 1.4. An R number between 0.8 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people.