TEN new areas on the brink of local lockdown have been revealed after a rise in coronavirus cases.

Public Health England has published an updated list of towns and cities with the highest rates of Covid-19 infections.

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Leicester – which was the first UK city to go back into lockdown – tops the list at 141.3 lab-confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

The city is followed by Bradford (45.8), Barnsley (35.1), Rochdale (35.0) and
Oldham (30.1).

Other areas to top the list include Kirklees (26.2), Rotherham (26.1), Sheffield (24.4), Bolton (23.5), Doncaster (21.3) and Blackburn and Darwen (20.8).

Despite topping the list, the figures suggest that Leicester's rate of new Covid-19 cases has "stabilised", while cases across Yorkshire are falling.

Levelling off

The equivalent of 141.3 cases per 100,000 people were detected in Leicester in the seven days to June 28.

This compares with 140.2 cases per 100,000 in the week ending June 21.

Public Health England said that, when looking at all local authorities across England, "activity remains highest in Leicester", though the weekly incidence of confirmed cases "has stabilised".

 

 

The new figures were published on Thursday as part of Public Health England's weekly surveillance report.

Lockdown restrictions were tightened in parts of Leicester and nearby suburbs this week in response to a recent rise in positive cases of Covid-19, with non-essential shops ordered to close and people urged not to travel in or out of the area.

PHE confirmed that the "increase in detections" in Yorkshire and Humber in the weeks ending June 14 and June 21 had "reversed" in the week to June 28.

Clearer overview

The figures are for the week ending June 28 based on tests that have been carried out both in laboratories and in the wider community.

As such these numbers give a more comprehensive overview of the country than the daily figures for local areas that are published on the Department of Health website, which are based on NHS lab testing.

Separate figures published by Public Health England on Thursday show the cumulative rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population since the outbreak began.

The top 10 areas on the brink of lockdown

Public Health England has published an updated list of new Covid-19 cases in England, by local authority area.

The figures are for the week ending June 28 and show the rate of new cases in each area, based on tests that have been carried out both in laboratories ('pillar 1' of the Government's testing programme) and in the wider community ('pillar 2').A

Here are the top 10 on the list, showing the number of cases per 100,000 population in the week ending June 28 and, in brackets, the equivalent figure for the previous week ending June 21.

  1. Leicester 141.3 (140.2)
  2. Bradford 45.8 (69.4)
  3. Barnsley 35.1 (54.7)
  4. Rochdale 35.0 (53.6)
  5. Oldham 30.1 (38.6)
  6. Kirklees 26.2 (30.3)
  7. Rotherham 26.1 (33.6)
  8. Sheffield 24.4 (20.6)
  9. Bolton 23.5 (15.8)
  10. Doncaster 21.3 (17.4)

Leicester is top of this list (994.6 cases per 100,000 people), followed by Oldham (761.4), Barnsley (750.0), Bradford (748.9) and Blackpool (724.3).

The area of London with the highest cumulative rate of cases so far is Brent (523.0).

Meanwhile, the crucial coronavirus R rate remains below 1 in England – but could be creeping above the threshold in the Midlands.

Experts at the University of Cambridge estimated that the majority of English regions fall below 1.

'No obvious source'

It comes as report found that the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in Leicester could have been driven by community transmission – rather than caused by a specific outbreak.

PHE found "no explanatory outbreaks in care homes, hospital settings, or industrial processes".

It also found an increase in the number of people aged under 19 who had been infected in the East Midlands city, from five per cent of all cases in mid-May to 15 per cent in June, and a similar increase in infections among working-age people.

Local authorities with the lowest rates of Covid infections

Public Health England has published an updated list of new Covid-19 cases in England, by local authority area.

These are the areas that came out on bottom – with the lowest rates of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population in the week ending June 28 and, in brackets, the equivalent figure for the previous week ending June 21:

  1. Torbay 0.0 (0.7)
  2. Rutland 0.0 (2.5)
  3. Portsmouth 0.0 (0.9)
  4. City of London 0.0 (0.0)
  5. Bath & North East Somerset 0.0 (1.0)
  6. Lambeth 0.3 (0.9)
  7. Devon 0.4 (1.0)
  8. Camden 0.4 (1.9)
  9. Southampton 0.4 (5.5)
  10. Hampshire 0.4 (1.2)

The report said that there was no "analytical link" between the reopening of schools to more pupils in June and the increased infection rate, but that further investigation would be "sensible".

It concluded evidence for the scale of the outbreak was limited, but added the proportion of positives from PCR testing – the national standard for identifying new coronavirus cases – is rising.

"This is suggestive of a genuine increase in numbers of new infections, not simply an artefact of increasing test rates," it said.

The preliminary investigation report – released on Wednesday evening – suggested the infection rate in the city had fallen from 140.2 to 135.7 per 100,000 people in the from the week to June 20 to the seven days prior to June 27.

This is still significantly higher than the overall infection rate in England which fell over the same period from 10.7 to 6.7 per 100,000 – despite the easing of some lockdown restrictions.

Number 10 played down a decrease in the coronavirus infection rate in Leicester contained in a PHE investigation into the outbreak.

The PM's spokesman said: "The report itself shows a slight decrease but that is not considered statistically significant.

"And the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people which is three times higher than the rate for the next highest city, which is Bradford."

Downing Street said that non-essential shops were closed in Leicester before regulations needed to enforce the lockdown extension had come into force.

The PM's spokesman said he believed the regulations were signed on Wednesday, but said: "(Shops) were closed initially on the very firm advice of the Health Secretary who obviously set out the health reasons for why we were asking non-essential retail to close.

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"And then as soon as the regulations come into place they are prevented by law from opening.

"But I think businesses did the right thing and they followed the guidance and request of the Health Secretary to close straight away."

The spokesman said Public Health England and others were "constantly monitoring levels of infection across the country and working with local authorities to implement additional measures if they are needed".

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