Britain reported its lowest daily total of new coronavirus cases since July 4 on Monday, adding to signs that a recent surge in infections driven by the spread of the Delta variant may have passed its peak.
The number of new cases fell for a sixth consecutive day, to 24,950 on Monday from 29,173 on Sunday. The total number of new cases over the past week, at just over a quarter of a million, is more than a fifth lower than the week before.
Britain has been closely watched by health experts and by financial markets since most legal restrictions were lifted in England on July 19, not long after new cases reached their highest level since mid-January.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government judged that the risk of a big wave of deaths or hospitalisations was low due to a high vaccination rate that would limit the risk of serious illness, even if it did not fully stop new infections.
However, businesses have reported widespread absences of staff who were required to self-isolate due to having been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Britain has recorded 129,172 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test during the pandemic, the second-highest official total in Europe after Russia.
Monday’s data showed 14 new deaths, down from 28 on Sunday and the lowest daily number since July 12. There have been 445 deaths in the past seven days, 50% more than the week before.
About 46.589 million people in the United Kingdom have received one vaccine dose, and 37.287 million – or just over 70% of the adult population – are fully vaccinated.