Coronavirus cases are continuing to increase rapidly across the North of England and Midlands, today’s NHS data shows.
Cases are surging up in cities and major towns across the region, including a spike in the city of Birmingham.
Bolton in Greater Manchester remains at the top of the list, with its rates of infection more than doubling in the space of one week – in spite of being plunged into fresh restrictions in the past fortnight.
But other areas also saw huge surges – including Hartlepool, in County Durham where cases are almost four times the level seen last week, reports Birmingham Live.
The ten areas in England with the highest infection rates ranked from highest to lowest spikes in the past seven days are: Hartlepool, Gateshead, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Bury, Birmingham, Salford, Bradford, Tameside, and Rochdale.
The UK has recorded 2,988 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to Sunday, marking the biggest single-day jump since May 23 when strict lockdown rules were in place, with Brits staying home and much of the economy remaining shut.
That was a leap up from the 1,813 infections announced on Saturday, and came in spite of complaints around the UK over the past week of difficulty accessing coronavirus tests.
However the tragic daily death toll is dramatically smaller than the levels seen earlier in lockdown.
On Sunday the UK death toll increased by two, bringing it to 41,551.
The surge in cases has deepened anxieties about schools returning – as already by Sunday more than 60 across the UK had reported coronavirus cases prompted pupils and staff to self-isolate jut days after returning to classrooms.
And the continuing rise in infections in some parts of the UK has put many on the brink of facing fresh local restrictions.
Today’s figures show certain areas are seeing particularly steep spikes.
In Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, infections have more than tripled in the space of one week.
Covid-19 cases in Hartlepool’s neighbouring town Middlesbrough are up by 91% in one week.
Birmingham had 557 cases in a week, giving an infection rate of 48.8 cases per 100,000 people – an increase of 74%.
Just two weeks ago, the case rate in Birmingham was 24.6 cases per 100,000 people.
Solihull has a lower coronavirus rate than Birmingham, with 76 cases over seven days, giving an infection rate of 35.4. But this means the number of cases is up by 245% in one week – in other words, they are more than three times as high as they were a week ago.
The table above shows how coronavirus rates have increased in some of the biggest urban areas.
One exception is Oldham, where cases fell slightly.
Some significant drops in rates were seen elsewhere – including Sandwell, which has been on the official coronavirus “watchlist” twice, which had made it a candidate for a local lockdown.
Cases fell by 31% in Sandwell over seven days, giving it an infection rate of 18.6 per 100,000, the new figures show.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted the Government had not “lost control” of the virus and said the increase in cases was largely among “affluent young people”.
He told LBC radio: “Over the summer we had particular problems in some of the areas that are most deprived. Actually, the recent increase we have seen in the last few days is more broadly spread.
“It’s actually among more affluent younger people where we have seen the rise.”
Asked whether he had “lost control” of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Hancock said: “No, but the whole country needs to following social distancing. We can only do this as a whole society – everybody has a role to play.”
England areas with highest infection rates
The list below begins with local authority, the cases per 100,000, then the change in infection rates in the past week.
Hartlepool 40.8 280%
Gateshead 45.4 241%
Bolton 114.2 135%
Middlesbrough 43.3 91%
Bury 45.2 76%
Birmingham 48.8 74%
Salford 56.2 47%
Bradford 63.9 37%
Tameside 48.4 33%
Rochdale 54.5 24%
Blackburn 57.7 21%
Manchester 49.5 19%
South Tyneside 42.6 19%
Oldham 54.7 -7%