England lockdown cuts coronavirus cases 30%, study shows

The results of the study come as lockdown measures in England are due to end this week. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Cases of coronavirus in England fell 30 per cent after lockdown measures were rolled out in November, according to a study by Imperial College London and market research company Ipsos Mori.

The findings show cases were rising as the country entered a four-week lockdown on Nov 5 and that a sharp decrease followed as national restrictions were rolled out, according to the report published on Monday (Nov 30).

The study supports findings "that stronger measures would be needed in some areas to prevent the epidemic from growing and that local tiers needed to be toughened to keep the virus under control once national measures end this week," the report said.

The results come as lockdown measures in England are due to end this week and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing opposition from some in his Conservative Party to his plan to replace the lockdown with a tiered system of restrictions for different areas. Hopes are that a vaccine can be administered quickly, beginning as soon as next month.

The UK is poised to become the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech SE's Covid-19 vaccine, ahead of a long line of nations waiting for protection from the coronavirus.

Clearance is possible as early as this week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential.

Findings of the Imperial College study showed 96 people in 10,000 were infected with the virus in the 11 days to Nov 24, down from 132 in the previous period. Infections fell by over 50 per cent in the northwest and north, two of the regions worst hit.

The so-called R rate fell to 0. 88 at the end of the period, below the key threshold of 1, when the spread of the virus accelerates and can lead to exponential growth in cases.

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