Covid: Boris Johnson warns 'we're not out of the woods yet' despite drop in daily cases for sixth consecutive day
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The latest daily figures show that a further 24,950 new cases were reported on Monday - down from 29,173 the day before.
Despite the drop in Covid cases, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister earlier warned that “we’re not out of the woods yet”.
At-a-glance: 5 key points
- Covid cases fell for the sixth consecutive day. This is the first time that’s happened since mid-November, which came following the reintroduction of national lockdown restrictions.
- The figure for daily deaths in England hasn't been released yet due to technical difficulties.
- Earlier, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson warned that Downing Street expects to see a rise in case numbers following England’s move to Step 4 last week.
- Experts earlier called the five-day drop in case rates a "reassuring" sign that the vaccination drive is defeating the virus.
- Covid testing begins today (26 July) for staff in the food supply chain and transport and emergency service workers.
What’s been said?
A Downing Street spokesperson said: "Throughout the pandemic we have always said it's encouraging when cases are falling."
But they added: "We should still expect to see a rise in case numbers given the move to Step 4 last week".
"The Prime Minister thinks we're not out of the woods yet."
Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist who advises the government, was asked on BBC Radio 4's PM programme why the decline in cases is happening.
"I think we're all cautiously pleased," he said - but added that the next few days will demonstrate if it's a sustained fall, or "just a blip".
"It is exciting to see those rather encouraging figures but there have been some delays in reporting the figures and we're still waiting for the full data to be released by the Office for National Statistics," he said. "So let's not get overexcited."
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Daily Mail.: "This is looking like a reassuring trend, after five days of these falling numbers.
"The fall is much more dramatic than expected. There have been several experts warning of a disaster, but these figures strongly suggest otherwise.
"It's too early to see any signal in the data from Freedom Day, which may increase transmission, but this data suggests that we are coming out of this wave.
"It's unlikely there will be any further surge from Freedom Day - if there is, it is likely only to be minor, and to probably last a matter of days."
There are encouraging signs that the UK’s vaccination success is defeating the virus, with case numbers dropping off from the peak in mid-July, when daily cases hit almost 55,000 on 17 July.
Sunday’s total marked the first time cases had fallen below 30,000 since 6 July, and the further decrease will embolden the government.
However, it’s too early to see whether England’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ could see cases rise again. That’s why Boris Johnson was said to be “raging” about the relatively low vaccination uptake among the under 30s.
The government is reportedly considering making the vaccine mandatory for students if they want to return to campus.
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