Coronavirus: Cases in the community 'relatively stable'

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Woman receiving mouth swabImage source, Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in the community is remaining relatively stable with one in 400 people in England infected, the government's surveillance programme shows.

The Office for National Statistics survey estimates there are around 8,700 new infections a day on average.

Figures for people testing positive in labs, however, is roughly 1,200, suggesting thousands more were infected but had no symptoms.

The ONS survey involved 15,000 people.

They were sent swab tests, which detect the virus, to their homes between 4 and 17 May.

Overall, 0.25% of participants tested positive for the virus - which is similar to the 0.27% figure provided by the programme last week.

This indicates about 137,000 people in England could be currently infected.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a track-and-trace system would be ready by 1 June that would be able to deal with 10,000 cases a day.

The ONS study is set to expand over time to test 300,000 people in private households across all four UK nations.

It is one of the sources of information being used to calculate the reproduction (R) number, or transmission rate, of the virus.

The people tested in this survey did not include hospital patients or people living in care homes, where rates of Covid-19 are likely to be much higher.