The UK’s Office for National Statistics has announced that the number of Covid-19 infections in England and Scotland have “levelled off” in recent weeks, while the rate is decreasing in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new data shows that daily coronavirus infections in England increased by around 38,900 in the week to November 14, compared with around 50,000 the week before, while cases in Scotland rose by 33,800 in the same period, compared with 39,700 in the prior seven days.

The ONS released a statement alongside its survey, stating “the incidence rate appears to have levelled off in recent weeks,” indicating that the nationwide lockdown is slowing the spread of the virus.

Despite the daily infection rate levelling off, the ONS survey found that the overall prevalence of Covid-19 infections rose to one in 80 people, from one in 85 the week before.

The report also showed that there were “substantial differences” in the infection rate across different areas of England, with an increase in London, the East and the South East, while there has been a decrease in the North West and East Midlands.

The ONS data could potentially put pressure on the UK government to change its Covid rules regarding schools, as the highest infection rates were found in secondary school aged children, older teenagers and young adults, as well as a noticeable spike in primary school aged children, all of whom can still attend their place of education. 

The figures were released hours after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that he hopes a mass vaccination programme will get under way “within a matter of weeks,” as a number of Covid-19 vaccine developers recently reported that theirs have been found to be more than 90 percent effective.

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