A HEALTH expert says there are several reasons to be positive as England remains under its third national lockdown.

"Lockdown is starting to work," Brighton and Hove City Council's director of public health Alistair Hill said, listing a sharp decease in the number of weekly coronavirus cases in the city and the rollout of vaccines as reasons to be optimistic

"The rate of new cases of Covid-19 in Brighton and Hove is slowing down," he said.

"In the past seven days we saw a 36 per cent reduction compared to the previous week.

"It is also good news that the NHS vaccination programme has started.

"Our oldest and most vulnerable residents, and the key workers who support and care for them, are getting their vaccinations."

In the seven days up to January 15 (based on data published on January 21) there were 1,438 confirmed new Covid-19 cases in Brighton and Hove.

The Argus: A quiet Brighton during lockdownA quiet Brighton during lockdown

This is equivalent to a weekly rate of 494.4 new cases per 100,00 people in the city.

This is similar to the rate for England, 497 per 100,000 people, and the South East, 505 per 100,000

The rate in Brighton and Hove in the week leading up to January 8 was 776.3 new cases per 100,000 residents.

But, despite these promising signs, Mr Hill warned it is "essential we do not relax our guard as the situation remains very serious".

He said: "The virus is still very present in our city. The rates remain very high, particularly in those aged over 60 and the new variant is more infectious than before.

"Our hospitals are treating more people for Covid now than at the previous peak in April 2020. Sadly, far too many are dying of the disease.

"The best way to stop Covid spreading in our city is to follow the government’s national lockdown rules to stay at home and to diligently follow the ‘hands, face, space’ guidelines when you do go out.

The Argus: Hove seafront yesterday, with the city remaining under lockdown restrictionsHove seafront yesterday, with the city remaining under lockdown restrictions

"Thank you, everyone, for playing your part in driving down infection rates.

"If we all keep working together, we will slow the rate of transmission and stop Covid spreading in our city."