The number of patients in hospital are dropping according to NHS figures this week, and have been in decline for nearly a month, as new evidence suggests the latest wave of the virus has peaked.
The autumn booster vaccine programme has been credited by health experts for reducing infections, although nearly a quarter of over-70s have yet to receive a fresh jab.
In the UK, 1.1 million private household residents tested positive for coronavirus in the week to 8 November, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This figure reduced by 27% from 1.5 million in the previous week.
In mid-October, the recent wave peaked above two million infections, which was well below the levels seen earlier in the year, when cases neared four million in July and almost five million in March.
Sarah Crofts, ONS deputy director for COVID-19 infection survey analysis, said: “Though it may be too soon to say the recent wave of infections is behind us, we have seen a decrease across the whole of the UK for a second week.
“Infections in England are now under a million and at the lowest rate in seven weeks. We’ve also seen a decrease across every English region, and in every age group. “Whilst it is reassuring to see these decreases, we will continue to monitor the data closely over the winter months.”
In England, 940,700 – about one in 60 people – are estimated to have had COVID in the week to November 8, an improvement from 1.3 million in the previous week, or one in 40, according to the ONS.
This marks the first time infections in England have fallen below one million since the week to September 17.
Scotland’s infection rate has dropped to 97,500, or one in 55 people, down from 107,300 or one in 50.
In Wales, 56,000 people were likely to have COVID-19 according to the latest survey, the equivalent of one in 55 people, down from 72,400, which was one in 40.
In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate for infections is 34,200, or one in 55 people, down from 39,900, or one in 45.
Dr Mary Ramsay, director of public health programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The success of the booster vaccine programme so far means that COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are still declining across the UK.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself, your family and the NHS, particularly as we head into winter, so we continue to urge anyone who has not had their booster this autumn to do so as soon as possible.”