Virus rates are on the way down for Shropshire and Mid Wales

Virus rates are starting to fall in areas of Shropshire and Mid Wales, new figures reveal today.

After weeks of across the board increases, most areas in the wider West Midlands are now showing a week-on-week decline.

Telford & Wrekin continues to have one of the highest rates in the region, at 484 per 100,000, up almost 40 week-on-week. But data show rates have started to fall in the last three days.

And Shropshire, Powys and Wrexham all show a steady fall in the rate of cases.

Experts have described the trend as “encouraging” but warn it is too early to say if it will continue.

And hospitalisations continue to rise. Latest week-on-week figures for Shrewsbury and Telford’s main hospitals show a 116 per cent rise from 12 to 26.

One expert predicted the worst could be behind us by late September.

Professor Neil Ferguson warned cases could rise again once the July 19 easing is taken into account, but said: “The equation has fundamentally changed. The effect of vaccines is hugely reducing the risk of hospitalisations and death. I’m positive that by late September or October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.”

The virus appears to be shifting its course and losing its power to spread among us.

New virus infection rates show that most areas of the West Midlands are showing a fall in virus rate numbers week-on-week.

Dig down into the data and even those areas showing a rise in the weekly average have actually seen infection levels fall in the last three days.

It is, of course, too soon to be complacent. The figures remain at very high levels and the risk of catching Covid remains, especially for those without the protection of the vaccine.

The figures, for the seven days to July 22, are based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in either a lab-reported or rapid lateral flow test, by specimen date.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Nationally, of the 315 local areas in England, 136 - or 43 per cent – have seen a week-on-week rise in rates. A total of 177– 56 per cent – have seen a fall and two are unchanged.

Redcar & Cleveland continues to have the highest rate, at 1,128 per 100,000 people. This is down from 1,421.8 in the seven days to July 15.

The Prime Minister has warned against drawing “premature conclusions” about dropping coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson said: “I’ve noticed, obviously, that we are six days in to some better figures.

“But it is very, very important that we don’t allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about this.

“Step four of the opening-up only took place a few days ago, people have got to remain very cautious and that remains the approach of the Government.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged people’s frustrations about the self-isolation system but insisted they had to “stick with the programme”.

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