The Isle of Wight has become the first place in the UK to drop below the benchmark level of 20 Covid cases per 100,000 people since October last year.
That is the figure that would have been classed as “safe” under the government’s original threshold for quarantining overseas travellers used last year.
Cases have fallen to 16.9 per 100,000 people on the island, the first time an area of England seen such a low level in more than four months.
Last summer, when travel corridors between the UK and other countries were still in operation, the government mandated that Brits visiting places with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day average would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
Currently, anyone entering England must self-isolate for 10 days, while people arriving from “red list” countries must do so in government-organised quarantine hotels. Rules in Scotland are stricter – anyone arriving there from any country outside the UK or Ireland must quarantine in a hotel.
These are the places in Britain with the lowest rates of coronavirus as of February 27, the latest figures available from NHS Digital.
- Isle of Wight 16.9 cases per 100,000 people
- Cornwall and Isle of Scilly 21
- Devon 25.2
- Gloucestershire 29.4
- Plymouth 33.2
- Lewisham 33.7
- Camden 33.7
- Bath and North Somerset 34.1
- Southwark 34.8
- Islington 35.5
- Kensington 37.1
- Westminster 38.3
- Kingston upon Thames 38.3
- Torbay 38.9
- East Sussex 39.7
- Bromley 40
- Lambeth 41.7
- Enfield 42.8
- Tower Hamlets 43.1
- Brighton and Hove 43.7
- Surrey 44
- Kent 44.5
- Greenwich 45.1
- City of London 45.7
- Richmond upon Thames 46
But scientists are eyeing an even lower threshold.
Looking ahead to the upcoming gradual reopening of society, one scientist told HuffPost UK last week the country still has a long way to go in order to stay on top of the pandemic.
Dr Kit Yates, mathematical biologist at the University of Bath, said: “In terms of having everything opened up and being able to keep on top of cases using Test and Trace, we need to be down to 10 cases per 100,000 people per week.”
“That’s where we need to be if we want to stamp down on outbreaks.”
The government has repeatedly refused to commit to thresholds below which lockdown will be eased, pointing instead to four general tests it will use.
So where are we right now? Although it varies across the country, on average we’re at 83.6 cases per 100,000 people.
Here are the 10 places in England with the highest case numbers.
- Leicester 194.2 cases per 100,000 people
- Peterborough 173.5
- Sandwell 167.1
- Kingston upon Hull 158.2
- Barnsley 157.2
- Bradford 157.1
- Bolton 153.4
- Rochdale 152
- Hartlepool 151.6
- Nottingham 151.1
And on a regional level, nowhere is close to reporting 10 cases per 100,000 people...
- South-west 44.7 cases per 100,000 people
- South-east 55.2
- London 55.3
- East of England 68.3
- North-east 105.8
- West Midlands 110.7
- North-west 110.8
- Yorkshire and The Humber 118.8
- East Midlands 128
Elsewhere, the number of weekly registered coronavirus deaths in England and Wales has fallen by more than a quarter to the lowest level since the start of the year, figures show.
There were 4,079 deaths registered in the week ending February 19 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
This is down 28.3% and the lowest number of weekly registered deaths since the week ending January 1.