End of measures in sight: more than 38 million Britons live almost free of corona

The UK is on top of the virus thanks to a tough and effective lockdown combined with a successful vaccination strategy. These make that large parts of England are virtually virus-free. Something that the British newspaper The Times mapped out with a trick.

The newspaper delved into the figures of the English health service PHE. It divides the country into 6,800 areas, each with an average population of 8,200.

Fewer than three new infections were reported in 4819 regions in the past week. More than 38 million English people live within those regions. It shows how the virus is dying out in the country. And that residents increasingly get their freedom back.

Because the favorable figures make new easing possible. For example, theaters and cinemas will be allowed to host people again from May 17, according to the British roadmap. Chances are that holidays abroad are also allowed.

Step by step

Reason for optimism. Although British researchers point out that everything must continue to go step by step. “Anytime the country opens up a little further, we need to keep a close eye on the impact on the number of new infections and the situation in the hospitals,” Mike Tildesley told The Times.

As a researcher, Tildesley also provides the data on which the British government bases its corona strategy. “The vaccination campaign continues to be successful so I hope we can keep up with the current easing schedule. But it is very important that we keep an eye on the data in the coming weeks.”

End of restrictions

That’s how researchers look at it. Ordinary Britons keep an eye on very different data. So many are eagerly looking forward to 21 June. If all goes well, social restrictions will end that day and discotheques will be allowed to reopen. Something we will have to wait a lot longer for.

Almost half of the residents of the United Kingdom have had a first injection. In the Netherlands this is about a quarter. As of this week, people in their 40s can enter the United Kingdom make an appointment for a shot. In the Netherlands, people in their late 50s will only have their turn from mid-May. How far ahead the United Kingdom is, is clearly visible in the graph below.

All vaccinations not only give the British more freedoms. They also provide interesting research results. As it turns out that if one person in a family is vaccinated, the infections in that family will be reduced by almost half. It seems to be one of the reasons why the number of infections in the United Kingdom is declining so quickly.

The United Kingdom has four times as many inhabitants as our country. Nevertheless, we have more than four times as many infections as the United Kingdom.

Despite these low contamination figures, British epidemiologists remain alert. According to them, vaccination is the only way to completely extinguish the virus. There appears to be enough enthusiasm for this among vulnerable elderly people.

“But we are going to have a problem with our young people,” epidemiologist Raghib Ali told the British newspaper The Daily Mail. “They see fewer health risks for themselves in the virus and will therefore be less likely to get vaccinated. While it is the only way to get rid of the lockdown forever.”
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