A closely monitored survey has found that new coronavirus infections across the UK have fallen sharply, just days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlines a roadmap as to how lockdown restrictions in England can be eased in the weeks and months to come.
The Office for National Statistics said in its weekly infection survey that rates of transmission have fallen across all four UK nations. In England, it estimated that in the week to February 12, one in 115 people tested positive for COVID-19. In the previous week, the rate stood at one in 80.
A similar picture emerged in the other three nations of the UK - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The whole of the UK, which has recorded the most coronavirus-related deaths in Europe at nearly 120,000, is in lockdown. Leaders are being careful about lifting lockdown restrictions, but are hoping that many can be eased from next month onwards following the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines. On Monday, Johnson is expected to allow some students to return to school on March 8.