Coronavirus “Delta” variant (B.1.617.2) have increased in England

The percentage of people testing positive continued to increase in England in the week ending 5 June 2021. Trends are uncertain in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in the latest week.

In the week ending 5 June 2021, the estimated percentage of the community population (those not in hospitals, care homes or other institutional settings) that had coronavirus (COVID-19) was 0.18% in England (1 in 560 people), 0.08% in Wales (1 in 1,300 people), 0.14% in Northern Ireland (1 in 700 people) and 0.18% in Scotland (1 in 540 people).

Cases that are not compatible with World Health Organization (WHO) “Alpha”, known as the UK variant, have increased in England in the latest week and are now the most common variant group. These are likely to be compatible with WHO “Delta” variant, first identified in India.

In England, the percentage of people testing positive increased in those in school Year 12 to age 34 years and those aged 50 to 69 years in the week ending 5 June 2021. The trends are uncertain for all other age groups in the latest week. Because of low positivity rates, caution should be taken in over-interpreting small movements in the latest trends.

The percentage of people testing positive increased in the North West, West Midlands, London and the South East in the week ending 5 June 2021. There are also early signs of a decrease in the East of England. In all other regions the trends are uncertain.

The percentage of people testing positive increased in the North West, West Midlands, London and the South East in the week ending 5 June 2021

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs, daily, by region since 25 April 2021, England

Most deaths involving COVID-19 are no longer among those aged 75 years and over

8 June 2021

The number of deaths from all causes in England and Wales in the week ending 28 May 2021 was 9,628, which is 3.1% below the average for the corresponding week in 2015 to 2019.

There were 95 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 28 May 2021 – a decrease of 12 deaths compared with the previous week.

Around 1 in 100 deaths (1.0%) involved COVID-19, the lowest proportion since the week ending 11 September 2020.

Deaths from all causes were below the five-year average

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 28 May 2021

his is the first week where the majority of deaths were not among those aged 75 years and over. The majority (68.4%) of deaths involving COVID-19 were now among people aged 65 years and over instead of 75 years and over.

More than a quarter of deaths involving COVID-19 in the week ending 28 May were among those aged 45 to 64 years.

Deaths involving COVID-19 fell in seven out of nine English regions and Wales, but rose in the North West and in London in the week ending 28 May.

Using the most up-to-date data, the total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales is over 140,000 (140,051 registrations up to 28 May 2021).

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Antibody positivity and vaccination continue to rise

9 June 2021

It is estimated that 8 in 10 adults (80.3%) in the community population in England would have tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the week beginning 17 May 2021.

In Wales, an estimated 82.7% of adults would have tested positive for antibodies. In Northern Ireland, 79.9% would have tested positive, and in Scotland, 72.6%.

Across all four UK countries, there is a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for antibodies, although antibodies alone are not a precise measure of immunity as a result of vaccination.

We estimate that between 70.9% and 81.5% of the UK adult population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the week beginning 17 May 2021, with between 38.0% and 52.6% of adults having received both doses.

Antibody positivity is highest among older age groups but rose among those aged 25 to 49 years in England in recent weeks. In Wales and Scotland, positivity rose in those aged 16 to 49 years, and in Northern Ireland, it increased in all adults aged over 25 years.

The impact of second vaccination doses is now apparent in those in their 60s and 50s: antibody positivity flattened in these age groups before increasing in April 2021 and May 2021, respectively.

Antibody positivity continues to rise in younger age groups and remains high in older age groups

Modelled percentage of: adults testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, adults who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine; and fully vaccinated adults, by grouped age, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 23 May 2021

Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3% in March 2021, the fastest monthly growth since July 2020, as government restrictions affecting economic activity continued to ease.

The output approach to GDP shows that April’s level is 3.7% below the levels seen in February 2020, however, it is now 1.2% above its initial recovery peak in October 2020.

GDP is estimated to have grown by 2.3% in April 2021 as government restrictions affecting economic activity continued to ease

The service sector grew by 3.4% in April 2021, with consumer facing services re-opening in line with the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and more pupils returning to onsite lessons.

Accommodation service activities grew by 68.6% as caravan parks and holiday lets opened up, while food and beverage service activities grew by 39.0% as pubs, restaurants and cafes were able to serve customers in outdoor seating areas.

Output in the production sector fell by 1.3% in April 2021. Within production, mining and quarrying output contracted sharply, by 15.0%, in April 2021 because of planned temporary closures for maintenance of oil field production sites.

Construction output fell by 2.0% in April 2021, following exceptionally strong growth in March. This is the first fall in construction since December 2020, when it fell by 2.2%.

Proportion of UK workforce on furlough at lowest level since summer 2020

The proportion of the workforce of all UK businesses on furlough has decreased to 7% in the latest period – approximately 1.8 million people.

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This is the lowest level reported since June 2020 when the series began, according to initial results from Wave 32 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) (reference period 17 to 30 May 2021).

In the same period, around a third (32%) of businesses experienced a decrease in turnover compared to what would normally be expected at this time of year – lower than at any point since the series began in June 2020.

In the week to 3 June 2021, the aggregate Clearing House Automated Payment System- (CHAPS) based indicator of credit and debit card purchases increased by 7 percentage points to 102% of its February 2020 average level. This was driven by rises across all four consumption categories in the latest week.

“Work-related” spending is currently at its highest ever level since the series began in January 2020. Similarly, “social” spending is now at its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic and notably above last summer’s peaks.

The period covering this latest week’s CHAPS data overlaps with May pay day, Spring Bank Holiday and May half-term in schools

Confidence in pub and bar survival is starting to improve

There has been a revival of confidence among pub and bar owners about the survival of their business beyond the next three months.

Following the introduction of a national lockdown in the UK and the closure of pubs and bars, the proportion of pub owners who had “high confidence” that their businesses would survive dropped to its lowest recorded level of 1% in late January 2021.

The most recent data for early May 2021 showed 24% of pub and bar owners had “high confidence”.

Levels of “low confidence” dropped from 63% in October 2020 to 3% by April 2021, but, by the end of the month, had risen significantly to 19%.

The percentage of pub and bar staff on furlough shows a downward trend since restrictions were lifted on beer gardens, however, remains high. This may be due to pubs and bars operating with minimal staff since reopening. As of mid May, 55% of pub and bar staff were still furloughed. This compares with 8% of staff on furlough for all other businesses in May 2021.

Travel

Most adults staying in the UK this summer

When asked about their plans for the summer, 12% of adults said they planned to go on a trip abroad before September 2021. Younger adults were more likely to have such plans, with 16% of 30- to 49-year-olds expecting to leave the country, compared with 8% aged over 70 years.

Of those planning a trip abroad, 71% want to go away on holiday, 34% hope to visit family and friends, and just 4% plan to travel for work.

Most of those planning to travel outside of the UK said they were willing to wear a face covering (91%) or prove being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus (86%). However, fewer people were willing to quarantine when arriving home (25%) or pay for or stay in a managed quarantine hotel (2%).

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