UK Ends Daily COVID-19 Updates

UK Ends Daily COVID-19 Updates
Patient samples are transferred by scientists into plates before entering the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) process for COVID-19 testing at the Glasgow Lighthouse coronavirus testing facility, in Glasgow, UK, in an undated file photo. (Jane Barlow/PA)
Owen Evans

The UK government has decided to stop its daily COVID-19 updates, and from now on the figures will only be updated on the official dashboard twice a week.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced this week that the dashboard will only update coronavirus figures every Monday and Thursday from now on.

The agency wrote on Twitter that the way it is reporting on COVID-19 stats is “changing within the UK.”

“From today, the COVID-19 Dashboard will update UK figures every Monday and Thursday. Vaccine data for Wales will be updated in UK figures every Monday,” it wrote.

The volume of COVID-19 tests has declined because free testing for the general public has come to an end, which came into force on April 1 as part of the Living with COVID-19 plan, the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus. This has affected COVID-19 statistics.
Last week, the BBC reported that the end of April had seen the largest week-on-week drop in the number of infections since 2020 due to the end of free testing. Figures are now an estimate, based on testing thousands of people at random in households across the UK, it said.
At its peak, the UK’s COVID-19 capacity was processing daily results from PCR testing site results and millions of lateral flow tests.

On May 9, Public Health Scotland moved to report data on Mondays and Thursdays. This means UK headline figures are also updated on Mondays and Thursdays. As of April 27, Public Health Wales moved to reporting vaccination data weekly. Data up to Thursday are reported the following Monday.

The results for those countries as well as Northern Ireland are also published in a weekly bulletin via the Office for National Statistics.
Clare Griffiths, head of the UK COVID-19 dashboard, told The Daily Mail: “As we move forward in the pandemic, changes to reporting across the four nations means COVID metrics will be updated on different dates and schedules.”

“Variations in reporting schedules should be considered when looking at reported COVID figures and day-to-day comparisons may therefore be misleading,” she added.

The news follows new government guidance published on Saturday, that from May 12, the domestic NHS COVID Pass will no longer be available and is no longer being enforced.

From July 2021, England opened up earlier than other comparable countries and has been relatively restriction-free since. Masks are no longer legally required in most public spaces.

In February, England scrapped its last remaining COVID-19 rule ie. the need for infected people to isolate.

Instead, guidance-only rules advise people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell, to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities.

“Once COVID-19 becomes endemic it should be possible to respond to the virus in a similar way to other existing respiratory illnesses, through sustainable public health measures,” said the guidance document on Living with COVID-19.