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© AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Covid rates are now at the same levels in the UK as they were in October.
Covid-19 levels have fallen across the UK to rates similar to mid-October 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported Friday, with slightly more than 421,000 cases in the community for the week ending February 19.

The weekly ONS snapshot said that one-in-145 people in England have the virus compared to one-in-115 the week before. In Northern Ireland, it is one-in-95 compared to one-in-105 previously. In Wales, it is one-in 205 from one-in-125 before, and in Scotland one-in 225 compared to one-in-180.

The ONS said these levels of infection in the community are similar to rates reported in mid-October, before the four nations of the UK tightened lockdown rules for a second time and prior to when the more contagious mutant strain took hold initially in the southeast of England.

The agency also said on Friday that the R number - the average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person - was between 0.6 and 0.9 for the week ending February 19, an indication that Covid-19 rates were shrinking.

The ONS results are based on tests from people whether or not they had symptoms and do not include people staying in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.

So far, the UK has reported more than 122,000 deaths of people within 28 days of having tested positive for coronavirus and some 4.15 million cases of infection. More than 18.6 million people so far have had a first dose of one of three vaccines approved for use in the UK, and more than 700,000 have received a second.