Covid-19 case rates for each of the four UK nations have dropped to a six-month low, but continue to show signs of levelling off, latest figures suggest.
Wales has the lowest rate among the four nations, with 39.1 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the seven days to March 24.
Rates have not been at this level in Wales since mid-September.
The pace of the drop has slowed considerably, however, with the latest seven-day rate barely changed from 42.6 recorded a week earlier or 40.3 the week before that.
It is a similar story in England, where the current rate of 55.9 cases per 100,000 people is down only slightly from 57.1 in the previous week and 58.8 a fortnight earlier.
In Scotland, the rate currently stands at 70.1, compared with 73.5 a week earlier and 69.5 two weeks ago.
Northern Ireland has seen its seven-day rate drop slightly from 66.4 on March 10 to 59.8 on March 17 and 56.3 by March 24.
The figures, compiled by the PA news agency using data from the UK’s health agencies, suggest rates of new recorded cases of coronavirus have reached or are near a “floor”, below which they are unlikely to fall much further.
Rates are also flatlining at levels higher than the floor seen last summer.
At the start of September 2020 – before the second wave of the virus began to take hold across the UK – all four nations were recording rates below 25.0.
Rates were even lower at the start of August, with all nations below 10.0.
The latest figures come as each nation starts to ease lockdown restrictions that have been in place since the start of the year.
In England from Monday two households or up to six people can meet outside, outdoor sport and leisure facilities can reopen, and the “stay at home” rule has been lifted.
In Wales, the “stay local” rule was lifted on Saturday, and six people from up to two households can meet outdoors or stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.
Scotland is to replace its “stay at home” rule with “stay local” from April 2, while in Northern Ireland two households or up to six people can meet outdoors from April 1.
Separate figures published last week by the Office for National Statistics suggested that the number of Covid-19 infections within the community is likely to have levelled off in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and has increased slightly in Scotland.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?