Map reveals where lockdown should be eased FASTER, top expert says

COVID restrictions should be eased faster in the South of England where cases are lowest, one expert has said.

Infections are plummeting and look set to fall below the milestone of 1,000-a-day this week.

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Cases have fallen a staggering 28 per cent in the last seven days, according to the latest data from Zoe, the symptom tracking app.

There are currently around 1,165 new symptomatic cases each day in the UK, compared to 1,601 a week ago, according to the team from Kings College London (KCL).

If rates continue to fall, KCL's Prof Tim Spector, says "hopefully we'll drop below the milestone of 1,000 cases in the next few days towards our record low last year in August".

The Zoe data shows cases are lowest in the South East and West of England, prompting calls for lockdown to be eased there earlier.

And Prof Spector, who is the lead scientist on the Zoe app has also called for an easing of restrictions in care homes where all residents have had their jab.

He told The Sun: "We are just a month away from further easing.

"Personally, I would like to see restrictions in care homes, where residents have been fully vaccinated, lifted as soon as possible to stop further suffering for those who havenā€™t been able to see their families for more than a year.

"Also, the Government could be looking at easing restrictions in parts of the country that have low infection rates like the South West and South East, as in these places there is limited risk right now."

It comes as:

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The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) also echoes Prof Spector's reason for optimism.

The next round of restrictions are set to be lifted on May 17 and from then Brits will be able to enjoy pubs and restaurants indoors, visit the spa and many will finally be able to visit relatives overnight.

The figures for the week up to April 22 show infections have fallen across all age groups, and are now lowest in those aged 70 to 79.

Meanwhile, cases are highest in kids aged 10 to 19 – a sign that the UK's staggering jabs programme is working.

Prof Spector's calls for easing in some areas comes as Wales is set today to speed up its exit from lockdown thanks to low Covid cases and rapid vaccinations.

First minister Mark Drakeford will announce indoor group activities can return on May 3 – a full two weeks earlier than planned.

It means venues like soft play areas and community centres will be able to reopen a fortnight ahead of those in England.

Mr Drakeford said Wales has some "extra headroom" to go faster because of its stellar jabs rollout.

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DAILY CASE RATES

While infections have fallen across the England, Yorkshire and the Humber recorded the highest rates at 45 cases per 100,000 people – which is very low when compared levels seen at the peak of the second wave earlier this year.

Data from the ZOE App also states that Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest daily case rate with 271 new infections being reported each day.

Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker app shows that the South of England has some of the lowest infection rates in the country.

The East of England has the lowest infection rate, and is estimated to be recording just 31 symptomatic infections each day.

It's followed by the South West with 36 each day and the South East with 57 a day.

As cases continue to fall in the UK it was yesterday reported that deaths caused by Covid-19 have plunged by 40 per cent in a week – with just 18 fatalities confirmed.

There have been a further 2,729 new cases logged in the UK, with the total now at 4,395,703.

Last week there were 30 new deaths and 2,672 more cases reported.

On Wednesday,Ā 22 deaths were reported, with 2,396 more cases added to the infection total since the pandemic began.

In Wales, there has been one more death and a further 63 cases of coronavirus.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that there was currently no data to suggest that his roadmap out of lockdown would be pushed back.

Since last week Brits have been able to enjoy pubs and restaurants outside, visit non-essential shops and gyms.

But the Prime Minister did warn that while we are in a good place now, there could be a third wave in the Autumn months.

It's likely, however that a third wave will not be as severe as the first two.

There are currently three coronavirus vaccines being rolled out across the UK, the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna.

So far 33.2 million have received a first dose with 11.1 having had a second.

Prof Spector said that it's because of this that it's unlikely we will see large scale outbreaks.

He added: "With regards to a third wave, with up to 60 per cent of the population vaccinated and around 5-10 per cent with natural immunity due to previous infection, it is unlikely we will see future large-scale outbreaks.

"Instead, we are much more likely to move to a state where there are low levels of infection with occasional smaller, manageable outbreaks.ā€

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