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Coronavirus (COVID-19) roundup: 19 March 2021

ONS published European comparisons of deaths in 2020 and the latest results from the COVID-19 Infection Survey.

Some of the main points include:

  • Excess deaths among those aged under 65 years in the UK were among the highest in Europe in 2020.

  • The highest recorded relative age-standardised mortality rate (rASMR), for all age groups, at the NUTS3 region level, was 841.7% above average in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, in the week ending 20 March 2020.

  • The highest regional rASMR in the UK in springtime 2020 was in Brent, Greater London, at 361.6% above the five-year average in the week ending 17 April 2020.

  • The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus in England has continued to decrease in the week ending 13 March 2021, to 0.29% (160,200 people).

  • The proportions testing positive were broadly similar in Wales (0.23%, 7,000 people), Scotland (0.37%, 19,300 people) and Northern Ireland (0.32%, 5,800 people).

We also published analysis of economic activity in the different lockdown periods, the latest data on public sector finances and the latest indicators of COVID-19 social impacts. The main points include:

  • Businesses within industries hardest hit by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have shown signs of adapting to public health restrictions.

  • More than 80% of arts, entertainment and recreation and accommodation and food businesses were temporarily closed during the spring 2020 lockdown; this had dropped to around 55% during January 2021.

  • In construction, around 30% of firms paused trading in spring 2020, down to less than 4% in early 2021.

  • UK public sector borrowing in February 2021 was £19.1 billion – the highest February borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

  • Around 4 in 10 (38%) of adults think, once the pandemic is over, they will avoid crowded places more often than they did before the pandemic.

Read the ONS roundup