The infection rate for Covid-19 started creeping up last week after falling to its lowest level in months by the previous weekend, while since Tuesday only small numbers of frontline workers had been queuing for vaccination.
After infection rates had been slowly but steadily falling from the peak of the second wave in mid-January, with the rolling average of new cases dropping below 40 at the beginning of March, the Government was able to ease the level four lockdown by opening up most of the economy, although keeping tight control on social activity and keeping the compulsory wearing of masks in public and social distancing.
During the first week of March, despite the reopening, the infection rates continued to drift down as progress from the second wave continued and by the end of the first week the running average was less than 30 new cases a day.
The death rate’s rolling average had reached a new low of around three deaths a day, after a small spike at the beginning of the first week of March that probably reflected the modest spike in infections during the third week of February.
But since Sunday 7 March, when the number of new cases was just 11, there has been a steady rise with the number of new daily cases reaching 46 on Friday and 48 on Saturday.
The rolling average, which tends to show trends and even out sudden daily dips and spikes, often caused by delays in issuing test results or the testing of a group of workers, was also rising from its Monday low of 24 to 27 by Saturday and bound to rise further as the daily infections in the last part of the week started dominated the averages.
At the same time the number of active cases, which had reached its lowest point this year with 899 by Wednesday, started rising again reaching 959 by Saturday, reflecting the rising infection rate during the week while those getting better were coming from earlier weeks.
While these new infection rates are still among the lowest this year and daily totals are below even the last week of February, the rises are seen as an indication of complacency creeping in again.
More people are becoming careless about mask wearing and enforcement has fallen.
A similar modest bulge in daily infections was seen, at a worse level, in the third week of February but the rates then crashed sharply in the fourth week to allow the re-opening of the economy.
Last week’s bulge was not as serious as that February bulge.
The vaccination programme also appears to have reached a bit of a plateau. By Monday, when more than 3 200 frontline workers were vaccinated on a single day, the total had risen to 35 518 people receiving their first jab.
Then rates slowed, and by Saturday the total had reached just 36 359, meaning around 80 percent of those vaccinated last week were vaccinated on Monday.