LONDON — England’s rate of new coronavirus infections appears to be slowing but cases remain high particularly among those aged between 18 and 24, said a team of researchers behind a new study of more than 80,000 participants published Thursday by Imperial College London.
The study, which is the country’s largest to date, notes that the reproduction number (often referred to as the “R number”) has fallen from 1.7 to 1.1, indicating that new restrictions introduced last month including the “Rule of 6” and 10 p.m. curfew in pubs and restaurants may be working successfully.
At least 1 in every 200 people across the country have the infection, the study found after collecting swabs from 84,000 people between Sept. 19 and 26.
Paul Elliott, one of the authors behind the study, said the results reinforce the “vital” importance of the public adhering to government advice to “limit the spread of the disease.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to continue social distancing and wearing face coverings and said he would not hesitate to implement stricter measures to protect lives.
Environment Secretary George Eustice also said Thursday that the government was seeking to “avoid full lockdown” like the one that came into force nationwide in March and grievously affected the economy.
Young people in particular have been hit by a rise in unemployment, with The Bank of England warning that the number of unemployed people is likely to rise to around 2.5 million by the end of the year.
“We’re not really trying to scare people,” Eustice told Talk Radio, adding that the government was trying to “act early” in an effort to slow the rate of transmission by using a targeted approach.