Covid: Harrogate infection rate below 100 for first time since December
The coronavirus infection rate in Harrogate has dropped to below 100 for the first time since the end of December.
Public Health England figures show the seven-day rate per 100,000 people in the borough is now 98. The last time the rate was below 100 was on 21 December.
The latest figure has shrunk fivefold from the peak in January (498) and is also below the current averages for North Yorkshire (101) and England (148).
The data is more evidence that the lockdown is controlling the virus, even with the more infectious variants circulating. However, experts have warned that infections still remain high.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will outline plans for easing any restrictions in the week of 22 February.
One of the first steps will be schools reopening and Mr Johnson previously said 8 March was the earliest this could happen, although that "depends on lots of things going right".
Scientists advising the government say the lower the cases can get, the better. They have also warned unlocking too soon risks another surge of the virus, even though more people are being vaccinated against the disease every day.
In North Yorkshire, more than 175,000 vaccine doses have now been administered as the rollout is expanded to those aged 65 and over and younger people in at-risk groups.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll at Harrogate hospital currently stands at 142 - a figure which has risen by 42 since the start of December.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter