Peterborough Covid cases rising but hospitalisation numbers stable
'Freedom Day' has arrived in Peterborough: social distancing is no longer in place, masks are no longer mandatory and groups of more than six people can meet indoors.
Covid-19 data shows that cases are going up in the city, but hospital admissions and deaths are not seeing notable rises.
The government's decision to lift restrictions across England was based on four tests – how does Peterborough fare in each of them?
1 The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
Peterborough is still slightly behind in the vaccine roll-out compared to other parts of the country – around 67% of the 18+ population had been given at least one dose of a vaccine as of July 13.
Nationally around 87% of the adult population have received their first dose.
All people over the age of 18 have been able to book their Covid-19 vaccine since June 17.
Since then, about 45% of people aged between 18 and 30 have received their first dose in Peterborough.
2 Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
In the week to July 11, from the latest hospital data available, there were three Covid-19 admissions at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust hospitals. This is one more admission than in the week before.
Compared to the week to January 24, the month the pandemic peaked in Peterborough, 202 patients were admitted over the seven days.
The Public Health England coronavirus dashboard shows that zero deaths have been recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in Peterborough since April 16.
3 Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
The infection rate for Peterborough remains below the national average, although it continues to rise.
Peterborough’s current infection rate is 180.5 per 100,000, with 365 new cases in the week to July 12.
This is up from 155.7, based on 315 new cases in the week to July 5.
The national average is 376.1 per 100,000.
4 Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants
According to data from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, almost all (between 96% and 100%) of coronavirus cases recorded in Peterborough in the two weeks to July 10 were Delta variant cases.
This is up from 88.4% in the two weeks to June 19.
The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, continues to account for most confirmed cases of coronavirus across the UK.
What has the prime minister said?
Restrictions lifted at 00.01am today in England – although not all other countries in the United Kingdom changed their guidance.
The prime minister urged people not to “throw caution to the winds” as England’s restrictions eased and acknowledged there would be more hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 to come during “difficult days and weeks ahead”.
But he said the success of the vaccination programme meant they could go ahead with the final reopening of the economy.
He said: “If we are careful and if we continue to respect this disease and its continuing menace then it is highly probable – almost all the scientists are agreed on this – the worst of the pandemic is behind us."