The number of coronavirus cases at the Royal Free and Whittington trusts fell by more than a quarter for the second week in a row.

Infection rates are also falling but demand on intensive care remains extremely high.

NHS data showed that on February 23, 224 beds at the hospitals were occupied by Covid patients.

On February 16, the figure had been 303 – meaning it dropped by 26 per cent in a week.

At the height of the second wave, it had been more than 700, so occupancy was down more than two-thirds on the peak.

The number of Covid patients requiring mechanical ventilation also fell.

On February 23, there were 67 patients being ventilated across the two trusts, compared to 85 a week earlier – a decrease of more than 20pc.

Coronavirus deaths at the trusts were also down. In the week to February 18, 20 deaths were recorded, compared to 37 the previous week and 63 the week before that.

In January it had topped 100 for three weeks.

Demand on intensive care was falling slowly but remained extremely high.

On February 21, there were 106 patients in critical care.

A week earlier there had been 111. In late January there had been more than 130.

But in early November, the trusts only had around 60 combined intensive care beds.

They doubled capacity to cope with the second wave, turning other parts of the hospitals into intensive care wards, supported by army medics.

So whilst intensive care occupancy was falling, it remained far higher than normal levels.

Many Covid-19 patients in intensive care have suffered damage to their lungs, hearts, kidneys or brains, requiring weeks or months of treatment and rehabilitation - so the numbers fall more slowly.

The infection rate was continuing to fall across the three main boroughs served by the trusts, although the decline had slowed in two of them.

By February 23, Haringey had 60.3 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. This represented a week-on-week drop of 32pc.

In Camden cases fell by 19.5pc, to 48.9 per 100,000.

In Barnet, cases fell by 12pc in the week to February 23, to 80.6 cases per 100,000. The previous week, they had fallen by 37.5pc.