By the end of the third week of England’s second national lockdown, which began early this month in a bid to stem a second wave of coronavirus infections, the number of new cases has fallen 30 percent, according to new data.
Some parts of northern England, which had been hit particularly hard by the new outbreak, experienced an even greater drop, the latest interim findings from Imperial College London’s React study showed.
But Matt Hancock, the British health secretary, warned that the data, while promising, showed the country could not “take our foot off the pedal just yet,” according to the BBC. In a post on Twitter late Sunday, Mr. Hancock cautioned that “we mustn’t waste our progress now we can see light at the end of the tunnel” with mass testing and promising coronavirus vaccine candidates on the horizon.
England’s current lockdown is set to end just after midnight Wednesday. But the lifting of restrictions will be different across the country, as regions move into one of three tiers based on their current rate of infection. Britain is still grappling with the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Europe and its deepest recession on record, with experts warning that the knock-on effects of the pandemic could last for years.