COVID-19: Number of people with coronavirus in England continue to fall, ONS says

About one in 1,340 people in England had coronavirus in the week ending 8 May, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It means the number with COVID has continued to decrease, with around 40,800 people estimated to have had the virus during the week in question.

The previous estimate was one in 1,180, or around 46,100 people.

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Wales also saw a big drop, with estimated infections more than halving in a week.

It has the lowest estimate for any UK nation, with about 1 in 4,230 believed to have been infected, or just 700 people.

The previous week’s estimate was one in 2,070, or around 1,500 people in total.

There were also significant falls in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland’s latest estimate is one in 1,250 people infected (4,200 total); from one in 760 (6,900 total) the previous week.

Northern Ireland’s is one in 1,430 people (1,300 total); from one in 750 (2,400 total).

The ONS infection survey tests people in private households around the country for infection and antibodies and is the largest such survey in the UK.

Seven in 10 adults in England were estimated to have COVID-19 antibodies from a previous infection or vaccination, according to the latest ONS data.

It covers the week starting 19 April, so is likely to now be higher as the vaccine roll-out continues.

It takes between two and three weeks after infection or vaccination for the body to make enough antibodies to fight the infection.

The estimated antibody rate for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was six in 10 people.

The figures come as concerns grow over the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant in the UK, with speculation it could push back June’s final step out of coronavirus measures.

Sky News understands that government advisory group SAGE has agreed that surge vaccinations are needed in hotspot areas, such as Bolton and Blackburn, to help control the "variant of concern".

It has only recently been detected in the UK, but the number of cases have risen sharply, with over 1,300 as of 12 May.

Indications are that it is not any more lethal than the others, and vaccines are still believed to be effective.

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