LONDON (Reuters) – The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England fell sharply in March, a closely monitored study said on Thursday, but also showed in a cautious note that the decline in infections has slowed.
The REACT study, led by Imperial College London, found that infections fell by about 60% from a previous study in February, with only 1 in 500 people infected.
However, the study found that the rate of decline began to rise in mid-March. Schools reopened on March 8, and restrictions on COVID-19 will be further eased next week, with the reopening of all outdoor shops and restaurants.
“We have seen a satisfactory drop in infections since our last survey in February … This is extremely encouraging and shows that we are going in the right direction,” said Paul Elliott, director of REACT.
“However, in our latest data, the infection rate has been equalized with the number R (reproduction), which is now around one. This shows that we must continue to approach the situation with caution and stick to the rules. “
Overall, national prevalence in England fell from 0.49% in February to 0.20% in March.
The REACT study is one of the largest COVID-19 studies of its kind in England, with over 140,000 volunteers tested in England in the most recent round between March 11 and March 30.
The study found that the correlation between infections and deaths differed, perhaps the effect of the British vaccination program against COVID-19, which saw that over 31 million people received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“These findings promise and illustrate the significant impact that locking, combined with our phenomenal vaccination program, has on the prevalence of this terrible virus,” said Health Minister Matt Hancock.
Alistair Smout Report; editing by Jonathan Oatis