Covid: Sharp fall in number of coronavirus cases in London and South East, study shows

Latest figures show a sharp fall in the number of coronavirus cases in London and the South East from February to March.

Data from Imperial College London also reveals prevalence of cases across England dropped by around 60% although the decline is “levelling off”.

The research comes from the latest round of the React-1 study, a national coronavirus swab testing programme.

It shows compared with February’s data, there have been substantial falls in different parts of the country:

  • South East: from 0.36% to 0.07%

  • London: from 0.60% to 0.16%

  • East of England: 0.47% to 0.15%

  • East Midlands: 0.59% to 0.19%

  • North West: 0.69% to 0.31%

Comparing infections and death and hospital admissions, researchers observed “fewer deaths per infection” than they would have expected based on recent prior months of the study.

"The good news is prevalence has decreased by approximately 60% from the previous round in February to the current results now in March," said Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London.

"The most recent data doesn’t show a continued obvious decline, we have a levelling off of prevalence, and that’s reflected in an R estimate of 1.

"And we see some divergence between our observed patterns of infection and patterns of death since January, which we think probably suggests that the mass vaccination is breaking that link to some degree between infections and deaths," he added.