On Air Now
Heart's Feel Good Weekend with Jonny Meah 10pm - 1am
19 January 2021, 10:19 | Updated: 19 January 2021, 10:52
Huge falls in coronavirus infection rates have been recorded across England over the past week.
There is some hope that the current lockdown in England is working, as coronavirus cases have dropped across 89% of the country.
The government data is based on the seven days to January 13, with new figures showing that the infection rate is steadily going down in areas which were badly hit by the new variant.
Areas of Essex and London were the worst affected before Christmas, but they have seen the biggest drops over the last seven days.
Epping Forest in Essex has seen a huge fall, with the number of cases per 100,000 people falling from 1,170.9 to 588.5.
In east London, the borough of Redbridge has also seen rates fall from 1,357.4 to 823.7, while Barking and Dagenham's rate went from 1,544.3 to 1028.6.
Broxbourne in Hertfordshire saw infections drop from 1,226.4 to 713.4, with cases in nearby Brentwood and Basildon in Essex also falling.
However, government data also shows rates are still rising in some parts of the country in the seven days to January 13.
In Norwich rates were up from 520.0 to 658.0, while Preston also saw a rise from 383.6 to 497.4.
Mansfield, South Ribble, Plymouth, Torbay and Redditch also had increases.
This comes after Boris Johnson warned the UK would have to be eased out of lockdown restrictions slowly.
The Prime Minister said decisions on loosening England's strict lockdown will be based on the vaccination programme which has been rolled out this month.
He Tweeted: "I understand completely that people want to get back to normal as fast as we possibly can. It does depend on things going well.
"It depends on the vaccination programme going well, it depends on there being no new variants that throw our plans out and we have to mitigate against, and it depends on everybody, all of us, remembering that we're not out of the woods yet."
Referencing easing lockdown measures, he added: “I'm afraid I've got to warn people it will be gradual, you can't just open up in a great open sesame, in a great bang, because I'm afraid the situation is still pretty precarious."
According to the latest figures from Public Health England, more than four million people in the UK have already received their first coronavirus vaccine dose.
The Government is said to be on track to vaccinate around 15 million high-priority people by February 15.