Covid data to be axed completely because it is 'no longer necessary'

The UK is going to stop publishing Covid-19 modelling data altogether because it is ‘no longer necessary’.

Publicly available measures like the R number will be totally discarded from the end of next month.

Regular updates of coronavirus measures became a regular fixture during the height of the pandemic but have been increasingly sporadic in recent months.

The growth rate was updated once a week and has been adjusted fortnightly since April this year.

It was first published in May 2020 for all of the UK, until April 2021 when it was published for England only.

The UKHSA Epidemiology Modelling Review Group (EMRG) said that, following a detailed review, the next publication of its consensus statement on Covid-19 on January 6 ‘will be the last’.

Officials said the vaccine rollout and success of new therapeutics meant it was no longer necessary to collate the figures.

Dr Nick Watkins, chairman of the EMRG, said: ‘During the pandemic, the R value and growth rate served as a useful and simple indicator to inform public health action and Government decisions.

‘Now that vaccines and therapeutics have allowed us to move to a phase where we are living with Covid-19, with surveillance scaled down but still closely monitored through a number of different indicators, the publication of this specific data is no longer necessary.

‘We continue to monitor Covid-19 activity in a similar way to how we monitor a number of other common illnesses and diseases.

‘All data publications are kept under constant review and this modelling data can be reintroduced promptly if needed, for example, if a new variant of concern was to be identified.’

It said Covid-19 incidence data will continue to be accessible from the Office for National Statistics infection survey.

A total of 1.4 million people in private households in the UK were likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to December 9.

The number of people in hospital in England testing positive for Covid-19 stood at 8,643 on December 21, up 29% week-on-week and the highest total since late October.

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