People eat outside a restaurant, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Windsor, August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The spread of the novel coronavirus in England slowed in June and early July, according to an Imperial College study of 150,000 volunteers.

“As the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England transitioned out of its initial lockdown phase, prevalence of swab-positivity continued to decrease,” the so called Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission study found.

Commenting on the study, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said: “This research highlights how, thanks to everyone’s efforts and sacrifice, alongside targeted measures to counter the spread of this virus in health and care settings, we were able to keep rates of infection low as some restrictions were lifted.

“However, we must not be complacent. I urge everyone to get a test if you have symptoms, self-isolate and provide your contacts to NHS Test and Trace so we can continue to keep the virus at bay and get back to normal.”

The study, which will be peer-reviewed before a final report is published, also found that risk of infection was higher in London than in other areas of England. It found there was an increased risk of infection among those with Black and Asian (mainly South Asian) ethnicities.

(With input from Reuters)

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