The 18 areas in England where COVID infections are increasing

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
 Shoppers wearing facemasks walk along Regent Street Public people are seen wearing facemasks while out shopping in London following prime minister, Boris Johnson's announcement of a new three tier lockdown system because of the increasing cases of coronavirus infections in the UK. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Coronavirus rates have fallen in England as a whole, but some areas are still experiencing an increase in cases. (PA)

There are 18 areas in England where coronavirus case rates are increasing, figures have revealed.

Analysis by the Press Association news agency of Public Health England data shows that 297 areas out of 315 have experienced a weekly drop in COVID-19 rates.

Of the 18 areas where rates increased in the week ending 25 November, eight are set to be placed in Tier 3 later this week.

These are Ashford, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Maidstone, Medway and Tonbridge & Malling in Kent, Boston in Lincolnshire and South Ribble in Lancashire.

The other 10 areas where the rate is increasing will be moving into Tier 2 after the national lockdown comes to an end on Wednesday.

These comprise five areas in Eastern England – Basildon, Harlow, Ipswich, North Norfolk and Peterborough – alongside Waltham Forest in London, Surrey Heath and Woking in the South East and Mendip and Torridge in the South West.

Swale in Kent has the highest coronavirus rate in England with 557 cases per 100,000 people, down from 644 per 100,000 the previous week.

MPs will vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday on the government’s plans to reinstate the three-tiered system after the national lockdown ends.

Areas in COVID hotspots will reportedly be moved from tougher tiers to soften a Conservative Party rebellion in the Commons against the reintroduction of the system.

On Monday, environment minster George Eustice refused to rule out a third national lockdown and said up to 100 Tory MPs “have got concerns” about the proposed return to tiered restrictions. The Labour Party remains undecided on which way to vote on the issue.

The analysis from the Press Association followed the latest release from Imperial College London’s React study, which showed that coronavirus infections fell by almost a third in England during the second national lockdown.

There was a 30% drop in cases across the country over a period of nearly two weeks, React researchers found.

More than 105,000 volunteers were tested in England for the ongoing research.

Watch: COVID cases fell by 30% during second lockdown

Infections fell by more than half in the North West and North East and were also down in Yorkshire and the Humber, but prevalence remained high in the East Midlands and West Midlands.

Imperial said the West Midlands is the region with the highest number of infections, at 1.55% of the population. It said the West Midlands, the East Midlands and London had seen “little change” in infection rates during the second lockdown.

Nationwide, there were 96 people infected per 10,000 between 13 and 24 November, down from 132 per 10,000 between 26 October and 2 November.

The overall R rate has fallen below 1 to 0.88, the study also said.

Read more

The Tier 3 COVID lockdown rules explained

The Tier 2 COVID lockdown rules explained

What tier are you in? Full list of lockdown areas

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, said: “Our robust data offers encouraging signs for England’s epidemic, where we’re seeing a fall in infections at the national level and in particular across regions that were previously worst affected.

“These trends suggest that the tiered approach helped to curb infections in these areas and that lockdown has added to this effect.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that, while the drop in cases is “encouraging”, the public must stick to the rules in the coming weeks.

Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said: “I think it is reasonable to say that both by preventing some regions accelerating, and by increasing the speed of decline in the most prevalent areas, this is good evidence that the lockdown was effective.”

Watch: How England's three-tier COVID system will work

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