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Boris Johnson urges caution as Covid cases drop

2021-07-28 HKT 01:51
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  • The UK prime minister (right) said people have got to remain cautious and that remained the approach of the government. Photo: AFP
    The UK prime minister (right) said people have got to remain cautious and that remained the approach of the government. Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for caution on Tuesday as Britain registered lower coronavirus case numbers for seven days in a row -- a decline that has surprised officials and experts.

Recorded infection rates across the UK have dropped for seven consecutive days with 23,511 new cases announced on Tuesday compared to 46,558 a week earlier – a fall of nearly 50 percent.

The reversal after weeks of rising rates has coincided with the removal on July 19 of nearly all pandemic rules in England, including legal requirements for social distancing and wearing a mask in public indoors.

It has confounded the government and scientists, who had previously warned cases would likely surge to 100,000 a day in the weeks ahead after the restrictions were eased.

Despite the turnaround, which comes after the start of summer school holidays in England and Wales, ministers are warning the long-term situation remains uncertain.

While daily case numbers have fallen, official data also showed 131 deaths from Covid within 28 days of a positive test were registered on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since March.

The overall death toll in Britain since the start of the pandemic currently stands at 129,303.

"I have noticed that obviously we have six days of some better figures but it's very, very important that we don't allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about this," Johnson said before Tuesday's figures were published.

"People have got to remain very cautious and that remains the approach of the government," he added.

Experts have struggled to explain why infections appear to have declined so dramatically since early last week.

The end of the Euro 2020 football tournament – which was blamed for a spike in cases among younger men gathering to watch games – as well as the school holidays and a mini-heatwave have all been mooted as factors. (AFP)