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Infections and deaths

The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus has decreased in all four UK countries

16 April 2021

In the weeks up to 10 April 2021, the percentage of people who would have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) has fallen in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Overall in England, we estimate that 112,600 people (0.21%) in the community (those not in hospitals, care homes or institutional settings) had COVID-19. This equates to 1 in 480 people and is a decrease on the 161,900 people we estimated to have had the coronavirus in the week ending 3 April 2021.

In Wales, we estimate that 3,300 people (0.11% or 1 in 920 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 10 April 2021, down from 3,800 people the week before.

In Northern Ireland, an estimated 2,600 people (0.14% or 1 in 710 people) had the coronavirus in the week ending 10 April 2021, down from the 6,100 people we estimated had the coronavirus in the week ending 3 April 2021.

In Scotland, we estimate that 10,500 people (0.20% or 1 in 500 people) had COVID-19 in the week ending 10 April 2021, down from 13,000 people in the week ending 3 April 2021.

Due to lower positivity rates, caution should be taken in over-interpreting small movements in the latest trends.

In the weeks up to 10 April 2021, the percentage of people testing positive decreased in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on nose and throat swabs from 3 May 2020

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Notes:
  1. All estimates are subject to uncertainty, given that a sample is only part of the wider population. The model used to provide these estimates is a Bayesian model: these provide 95% credible intervals. A credible interval gives an indication of the uncertainty of an estimate from data analysis. 95% credible intervals are calculated so that there is a 95% probability of the true value lying in the interval.

  2. Official reported estimates are plotted at a reference point believed to be most representative of the given week.

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Analysis | Data

Number of COVID-19 deaths continues to fall, but death registrations were affected by the Bank Holiday

20 April 2021

There were 379 deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales in the week ending 9 April 2021 – a decrease of 21 deaths compared with the previous week.

The number of deaths registered in the week ending 9 April 2021 was affected by the Easter Monday Bank Holiday. There were 9,098 deaths from all causes recorded in the most recent week, which was 11.7% below the five-year average (because of the movement of Easter, Easter Monday may not be included in the average).

Around 1 in 25 (4.2%) deaths in the latest week involved COVID-19, the lowest proportion since the week ending 9 October 2020.

The Easter Monday Bank Holiday affected death registrations in the most recent week

Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 9 April 2021

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Notes:

  1. Figures include deaths of non-residents.
  2. Based on date a death was registered rather than occurred.
  3. All figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional.
  4. The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) definitions are as available in the Measuring the data section of the bulletin.
  5. The number of deaths registered in 2020 Weeks 19, 20, 22, 23, 36, 37, 52 and 53 and in Weeks 1 and 13 2021 were affected by early May, late May, August, Christmas, New Year, Good Friday and Easter Monday Bank Holidays (Friday 8 May 2020, Monday 25 May 2020, Monday 31 August 2020, Friday 25 December 2020, Monday 28 December 2020, Friday 1 January 2021, Friday 2 April 2021, Monday 5 April 2021).
  6. The Week 52 five-year average is used to compare against Week 53 deaths.
  7. The five-year average has been provided for 2015 to 2019 (rather than 2016 to 2020) because of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on deaths registered in 2020. The average for 2015 to 2019 provides a comparison of the number of deaths expected per week in a usual (non-pandemic) year.
  8. The Easter Monday Bank Holiday appears in different weeks across different years. For 2015 it was in Week 15, for 2016 it was in week 13, in 2017 it was in Week 16, in 2018 it was in Week 14 and in 2019 it was in Week 17.

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The total number of deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales has passed 135,000 (138,476 registrations up to 9 April 2021). Around 73% of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people aged 75 years and over.

Our data are based on deaths registered in England and Wales and include all deaths where “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” was mentioned on the death certificate. Weekly figures are available by local authority and health board.

Analysis | Data

Half of UK adults estimated to have COVID-19 antibodies

14 April 2021

Around half of UK adults would have tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19 at the end of March 2021.

An estimated 1 in 2 adults in the UK would have tested positive for antibodies in a blood test in the week ending 28 March 2021, suggesting they had the infection in the past, or have been vaccinated.

In England, 54.9% of people were estimated to have antibodies; in Wales, 49.1%; in Northern Ireland, 54.5%; and in Scotland, 46.0%.

Antibody positivity varies significantly by age group. Antibody positivity is increasing in the younger age groups and decreasing in the older age groups. This is likely because the data do not yet show the impact of second vaccination doses. However, the detection of antibodies alone is not a precise measure of the immunity protection acquired from vaccination.

Antibody positivity varies by age group

Modelled percentage of people testing positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, 7 December 2021 to 28 March 2021, UK, and modelled percentage of people who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 14 December 2020 to 3 April 2021, by grouped age, UK

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Notes:
  1. All results are provisional and subject to revision.

  2. These statistics refer to antibody tests and vaccinations reported in the community, by which we mean private households. These figures exclude individuals in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.

  3. In Northern Ireland, the number of people sampled who tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 or reported receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is low compared with England, Wales and Scotland; therefore, people aged 50 to 69 years are included in the same age group, and those aged 70 years and over are included in the same age group.

  4. All estimates are subject to uncertainty, given that a sample is only part of the wider population. A credible interval gives an indication of the uncertainty of an estimate from data analysis. 95% credible intervals are calculated so that there is a 95% probability of the true value lying in the interval.

  5. The denominators used for vaccinations are the total people in the sample at that particular time point, then it is post-stratified by the mid-year population estimate.

Analysis | Data

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Economy, business and jobs

The economy grew by 0.4% in February 2021

13 April 2021

Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 0.4% in February 2021 following a revised fall of 2.2% in January 2021.

Restrictions were in place to varying degrees across all four nations of the UK throughout January and February. Restriction announcements for each nation are available:

The output approach to GDP shows that February’s level is 7.8% below levels before the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were seen (February 2020), and 3.1% below the initial recovery peak (October 2020). Overall, all main sectors of GDP remain below their pre-pandemic levels, but only services remains notably lower than the initial recovery peak in October 2020.

Output growth in the services sector was broadly flat in February 2021 (grew by just 0.2%) as coronavirus restrictions remained largely unchanged; this follows negative 2.5% growth in January 2021.

Overall, in February 2021, consumer-facing services were 18.6% below pre-pandemic levels (February 2020), while all other services were 7% below pre-pandemic levels.

The production sector grew in February 2021, by 1.0%. This was mainly because of manufacturing output picking up for the first time since November 2020, as the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers grew following contraction in the previous two months.

The construction sector saw growth of 1.6% in February 2021, driven by both new work and repair and maintenance.

Analysis | Data

Over the year the largest falls in payrolled employment have been in the hospitality sector, those aged under 25, and those living in London

20 April 2021

Early estimates for March 2021 indicate that there were 28.2 million payrolled employees, a fall of 2.8% compared with the same period of the previous year and a decline of 813,000 people over the 12-month period. There was a small monthly decrease in the number of payrolled employees in March 2021; the largest monthly falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Of the 813,000 decrease in payrolled employees since March 2020:

  • 355,000 can be attributed to employees working in the accommodation and food service activities sector
  • 223,000 can be attributed to employees living in London
  • 436,000 (53.7%) were under 25 years

Data from our Labour Force Survey estimate the UK employment rate at 75.1%, 1.4 percentage points lower than a year earlier.

December 2020 to February 2021 estimates show a quarterly decrease in the unemployment rate, while the economic inactivity rate increased, as it did during the first coronavirus restrictions, and the employment rate continued to fall

UK employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates, seasonally adjusted, between December 2005 to February 2006 and December 2020 to February 2021

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Homeworkers had a much lower sickness rate in 2020. The sickness absence rate for workers doing any work from home was 0.9% on average in 2020, compared with 2.2% for those who never worked from home in their main job.

In 2020, people working from home worked more hours of unpaid overtime than those who never worked from home: around 6.0 hours compared with 3.6.

Analysis

Homeworking went up by 9.4 percentage points in 2020

19 April 2021

Of employed adults, 35.9% worked from home at some point during 2020, 9.4 percentage points higher than the level in 2019.

The average gross weekly pay of workers who had recently worked from home was about 20% higher in 2020 than those who had never worked from home in their main job, when controlling for other factors. Prior to the pandemic those who had recently or occasionally worked from home earnt on average 23.4% and 12.0% more than those who never worked from home, respectively.

During 2020 the hours worked by home workers changed. In the early part of the pandemic (April, Wave 1 2020) homeworkers tended to keep hours close to typical office hours. However, by September (Wave 2 2020), homeworking schedules had shifted later, and homeworkers were more likely to work in the evenings compared with those who worked away from home.

Homeworkers were more likely to work in the evenings in September, when compared with April 2020, but are less likely to when compared with homeworkers in 2015

Total homeworkers who were working from home by time of day, Index 12:00 = 100, Great Britain, 2015 to 2020

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Notes:
  1. Wave 1 reference period 28 March to 26 April 2020.
  2. Wave 2 reference period 5 September to 11 October 2020.

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Homeworkers had a much lower sickness rate in 2020. The sickness absence rate for workers doing any work from home was 0.9% on average in 2020, compared with 2.2% for those who never worked from home in their main job.

In 2020, people working from home worked more hours of unpaid overtime than those who never worked from home: around 6.0 hours compared with 3.6.

Analysis

Seated diner reservations and online job adverts increase as coronavirus restrictions ease

15 April 2021

Lockdown measures eased across England on Monday 12 April 2021, allowing restaurants to open for outdoor dining. OpenTable estimates for UK seated diner reservations on this day were at 79% of the level seen on the equivalent Monday of 2019, the first time the level has exceeded 2% since before the latest lockdown was announced on 4 January 2021. The equivalent figures for London and Manchester were 47% and 153%, respectively.

On 9 April 2021, total online job adverts reached 100% of their February 2020 average level - the highest proportion seen since 6 March 2020, according to Adzuna. This was partly driven by a notable increase to the “catering and hospitality” category, which reached 58% of its February 2020 average level on 9 April 2021. This is the highest proportion of online job adverts for “catering and hospitality” since 20 March 2020.

Conversely, following a period of increase in recent months, online job adverts for “travel and tourism” declined when compared with 1 April 2021 to 84% of their February 2020 average level on 9 April 2021.

Analysis | Data

A story of two recessions: productivity in 2008 and 2020

14 April 2021

Productivity (labour productivity, multi-factor productivity, and public service productivity) declined in the first half of 2020 largely as a result of government restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Output per hour (one measure of labour productivity) and multi-factor productivity (MFP) declined in the first half of the year as a result of gross value added falling more than hours worked during the first lockdown, with businesses having to adapt to the new situation.

Both increased in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020 as restrictions were eased – largely because of the shifting distribution of industries that continued to operate – but underlying productivity remained subdued.

With the reintroduction of restrictions on economic activity in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020, output per hour declined as gross value added recovered at a slower rate than total hours worked, while multi-factor productivity declined again as a result of shifts in economic activity between industries.

These changes contrast with the long and slow fall and recovery experienced following the economic downturn in 2008.

Productivity measures and inputs throughout the coronavirus and the 2008 economic downturn

Output per hour, multifactor productivity, public service productivity, coronavirus compared with 2008 economic downturn

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The fall in public service productivity (PSP) was much more severe than the corresponding decrease during the economic downturn in 2008. PSP fell by 0.5% during the economic downturn, whereas in 2020 the initial estimate of the fall in PSP was 15.4%. This is because of changes in the composition of public services to combat the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which did not occur in the 2008 to 2009 downturn.

Government spending increased, for example on healthcare and personal protective equipment (PPE), while simultaneously output was negatively affected by school closures and cancelled non-urgent medical treatments. As a result of inputs increasing while outputs fell, public service productivity decreased.

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People and social impacts

More people heading out to parks and beauty spots

16 April 2021

The number of people leaving the house to visit outdoor spaces continued to increase during the Easter period from 7 to 11 April, before the further easing of lockdown restrictions on 12 April.

Of adults who left home, 30% went to a local park or green space compared with 25% the previous week. 10% of adults who left home visited a beauty spot, beach or landmark (6% the previous week) and 15% left home to collect takeaway food or drinks (16% the previous week).

Almost all adults (95%) in Great Britain reported leaving home for any reason.

Over half (55%) of adults met up with someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble outdoors, with just over 1 in 10 (12%) meeting someone outside their household, childcare or support bubble indoors.

Like last week, more than half (53%) of adults reported travelling to work, continuing a gradual increase since mid-February when 44% commuted.

More people are leaving home to visit a local park or green space or to visit a beauty spot, beach or landmark

Adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to April 2021

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Notes:
  1. Question: "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?".

  2. Base: all adults who reported having left their home in the past seven days for any reason.

  3. Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For information on response options to these questions, please see the full report.

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Positive sentiment towards a COVID-19 vaccine remains high, with 94% of adults surveyed saying they have accepted at least one dose of the vaccine or will accept it when offered.

90% of 30-to-49 year-olds had positive sentiment towards a vaccine - slightly down from the high of 93% for this age group, seen in the period 24 to 28 March. 88% of 16-to-29 year-olds had a positive attitude to the vaccine, similar to the figures seen in recent weeks. These proportions were 74% (30-to-49 year olds) and 63% (16-to-29 year-olds) at the start of the vaccination programme in December 2020.

Analysis | Data

Shopping, work or education were among the main reasons for leaving self-isolation

15 April 2021

Approximately 8 in 10 (82%) people who were required to self-isolate due to coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test reported fully adhering to the requirements.

Non-adherent behaviour was more likely to take place in the period between the onset of symptoms and receiving a positive test result.

Data collected between 8 and 13 March 2021 show a minority of people (17%) reported at least one activity that was not adherent to the self-isolation requirements, such as leaving home.

The main reasons given for leaving home during self-isolation included going to the shops and going to work, school or university.

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User requests

We continue to respond to data requests from the public, media and government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Responses are published in our list of user requested data.

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