Jumps in coronavirus infection rates have put four areas in England potentially at risk of local lockdown restrictions.
At the same time, four other parts of the country currently facing added measures to tackle the spread of the deadly bug have seen their infection rates drop, which could see such restrictions eased.
That’s according to analysis of data from Public Health England showing the top 20 highest infection rates for deadly Covid-19, broken down by local authority.
Figures from the last seven days up to August 14 show a number of dramatic changes compared to the week before.
Four areas – Northampton, Swindon, Birmingham and Newark and Sherwood are all in the top 20 worst for rates of infection, per 100,000 people.
An NHS COVID-19 tester carries a sample over the road from the Greencore sandwich factory outbreak in Northampton
But none of these areas are in the Government’s 20-strong list of local authorities currently facing ‘interventions’, or local lockdowns.
Infection rates aren’t the only factor when the authorities decide whether to impose local lockdown but it certainly raises the possibility.
Northampton continues to have the highest rate in the country, thanks to an outbreak at the Greencore sandwich factory and 276 new cases in the last week.
As of Friday there were more than 122 people infected with the virus for every 100,000 residents – a huge jump on the 39.6 just over a week before.
Last week leader of Northamptonshire County Council Jonathan Nunn said: “We were a while ago stood at a fork in the road.
“Let’s hope we have taken that road away from a local lockdown although we have to say at this stage it is not certain.
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Concerns have been raised Birmingham could be at risk of local lockdown too
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Similar warnings have been made in Birmingham, after the infection rate more than doubled in a week with more than 300 new cases.
Director of public health Dr Justin Varney said it was likely the city would feature in the national “watch list” of places most at risk of intervention within days, with no sign of the current rise in cases easing off.
Although Swindon and Newark and Sherwood both feature in the top 20 for worst infection rates, week on week their numbers have dropped.
Swindon is marked as an area of ‘concern’ on the Government’s watchlist, so at this stage no tougher measures are being taken.
At the same time though, four areas that are in local lockdown – Bolton, Stockport, Wigan and Rossendale – are outside of the 20 worst parts of the country for infection rates.
Although Bolton is borderline, Wigan and Rossendale rates are particularly low, at 9.1 and 4.2 infections for every 100,000 people respectively.
Wigan residents have hit out at being included in the lockdown restrictions since they were imposed over a fortnight ago, arguing it’s “unfair”.
People on the streets of Oldham, an area affected by local lockdown already
(Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
Coun Michael Winstanley, who represents Orrell ward on Wigan Council, previously said he was ‘bewildered’ that the borough was under local lockdown.
Although still in the top 20 worst rates, Leicester has seen a significant improvement, dropping to 54.5 from 63.8 and some restrictions are set to be eased following a review.
The Department of Health and Social Care is to look at the coronavirus situation in the city and decide whether any of the restrictions put in place to stem the spread of Covid-19 must continue or whether they can be further relaxed.
An announcement is due at some point on Monday.
Leicester has been in a local lockdown since July
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Top 20 coronavirus infection rates in England
The first figures show rates per 100,000 people up to August 7, the second numbers are the rates as of August 14. They are ranked in order of highest current infection rates in the country.
Northampton – 39.6 / 122.9 (Not in lockdown)
Oldham – 94.5 / 91.5
Blackburn with Darwen – 80.2 / 86.8
Pendle – 99.9 / 70.6
Leicester – 63.8 / 54.5
Bradford – 56.5 / 53.7
Manchester – 34.4 / 46.8
Rochdale – 40.5 / 39.1
Preston – 41.2 / 38.4
Hyndburn – 28.4 / 38.3
Calderdale – 48.2 / 37.4
Salford – 29 / 34.4
Kirklees – 27.5 / 33.9
Swindon – 47.3 / 33.3 (Not in lockdown)
Burnley – 42.7 / 32.6
Birmingham – 18.2 / 31.5 (Not in lockdown)
Bury – 26.7 / 30.4
Tameside 36.2 / 27.8
Trafford – 21.9 / 27.8
Newark and Sherwood – 30.2 / 27 (Not in lockdown)
Four areas in local lockdown not in the top 20 infection rates
Bolton – 28.9 / 26.1
Stockport – 23.5 / 21.8
Wigan – 8.8 / 9.1
Rossendale – 8.4 / 4.2