More than half of local areas in England have recorded no COVID deaths in the last week.
Out of the 314 local authorities in England, 186 reported zero COVID deaths in the week up to 30 April, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
These included places like Hartlepool, Blackburn with Darwen, Luton, Plymouth, City of London and Southend-on-Sea.
Meanwhile, most of the remaining local authorities recorded just one or two deaths in the week up to 30 April.
Just two areas recorded more than four deaths – County Durham and Birmingham, which both recorded seven.
Overall, ONS figures show that the total number of deaths registered in England in the week up to 30 April involving COVID-19 was 198.
This comes as an 18.5% decrease in the number of deaths involving coronavirus from the previous week, which saw 244 deaths.
This is the eighth consecutive week that the overall number of deaths registered in England have been lower than the five-year average in England, according to the ONS.
Meanwhile, Monday marked the first time England recorded zero new coronavirus deaths within 24 hours since July last year.
As the figures continue to drop, Meanwhile, Boris Johnson announced on Monday that England’s lockdown easing will proceed as planned on 17 May.
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This means people will be able to meet in groups of six or two households indoors, while pubs and restaurants can serve customers inside.
The government said that this is an “irreversible” lifting of lockdown rules although the rapid rise of the new B.1.617.2 variant is adding to concerns that the UK could face another wave of the virus later this year.
It comes as the country sees a huge fall in deaths and cases with England recording zero new deaths for the first time since July on Monday.
The recent figures and success of the vaccine programme have prompted questions in some quarters over whether lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules should be lifted sooner than planned.
But Downing Street has insisted that the government will stick to its roadmap out of lockdown.
The government said that this is an “irreversible” lifting of lockdown rules although the rapid rise of the new B.1.617.2 variant, which emerged in India, is adding to concerns that the UK could face another wave of the virus later this year.
Speaking about the variant at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “It has gone up very sharply and I think that’s a reason for us to be very careful about it.”
Dr Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operation Research Unit at University College London, also warned that recent data shows transmission of the Indian variant is “incredibly concerning”.
"It's not looking good at all,” she tweeted, adding: “Ignoring problems when they're 'small' has been one of the MOST damaging things this whole pandemic.”
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