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England hits important milestone as less than 1% of people catch COVID in every region

Connor Parker
·3-min read
Cases have fallen to below 100 per 100,000 across England. (PA)
Cases have fallen to below 100 per 100,000 across England. (PA)

The battle to contain the COVID outbreak in England has hit a major milestone after the number of people catching coronavirus dropped below 1% in every region.

Figures released by Public Health England (PHE) show the number of cases are falling all over England, although major regional differences remain.

In Yorkshire and Humber, the rate of new cases stood at 97.6 per 100,000 people in the seven days to March 7 – the highest rate of any region, but down from 115.6 in the previous week.

The East Midlands recorded the second-highest rate: 84.0, down from 122.9.

South-west England recorded the lowest rate: 32.3, down from 43.9.

Watch: Children Return to School in England as Coronavirus Lockdown Easing Begins

Read more: The 9 countries that gobbled up three quarters of the world's vaccines

The marked drop in cases is a good sign for the government as it hopes to carry on with its roadmap out of lockdown.

During the peak of the pandemic in January, several areas in England had over 1,000 cases per 100,000 so the drop to below 100 per 100,000 is a dramatic fall.

PHE also said case rates in England are continuing to fall among all age groups.

The highest rate is among 30 to 39-year-olds, which stood at 88.9 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to March 7, down week-on-week from 123.6.

Among 20 to 29-year-olds the rate dropped from 113.9 to 78.9, and for 40 to 49-year-olds it fell from 103.7 to 72.7.

For people aged 80 and over, the rate fell from 66.6 to 44.2.

Schools returned on Monday and have implemented extensive testing regimes. (PA)
Schools returned on Monday and have implemented extensive testing regimes. (PA)

Read more: UK gets up to 10 million extra COVID jabs ahead of surge in vaccination

The first stage of the end of lockdown in England began on Monday when schools reopened to most pupils.

Some secondary schools staggered returns in order to meet testing requirements, but it is expected every pupil will be back behind their desk by the end of the week.

People were also allowed to return to care homes for the first time since the start of the pandemic as well this week.

One nominated person can enter a care home if they are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).

Almost all care home residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine.

The other three nations of the UK have also begun making their first steps out of lockdown.

By 29 March the rule of six will return allowing groups of six, or two households, to meet in private gardens.

This is also the date the Stay At Home order will end allowing people to move freely around the country again.

England's roadmap out of lockdown is contingent on the continued success of the vaccine rollout and the decline in COVID across the country.

Shops, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality are set to open on 12 April, with indoor hospitality due to return on 17 May.

The government hopes to end all social distancing restrictions by 21 June, although some measures are likely to remain into the autumn.