United Kingdom

Local restrictions not ruled out as 28 Covid hotspots emerge in England

The 28 areas have more than double the average infection rate (Picture: Picture: PA)

A minister has refused to rule out local restrictions in areas with rising infection rates as data suggests there are 28 hotspots across England.

The average number of cases in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since summer, but there have been sharp rises in some areas.

According to an analysis by Sky News, there are 28 local authority areas in England, four in Northern Ireland and two in Scotland that have case rates twice the national average.

Asked about whether the Government is concerned over the hotspots, Environment Minister George Eustice said: ‘We are not sure what could be driving it, whether it’s particular variants that have taken hold of people being a bit too lax about restrictions that are in place.

‘We are not sure about that but we are monitoring the situation closely.’

Asked if it meant restrictions could be imposed, he said: ‘We can’t rule anything out. We want this to be the last (lockdown) and want to avoid going back into a tiered system.’

The data showed there were on average 40 cases per 100,000 people across the UK for the two-week period ending 4 May was 40.1.



The top 5 hotspot areas

  1. Hyndbyrn, Lancashire (199)
  2. Botlon (158.9)
  3. Selby, North Yorkshire (158.9)
  4. Derry City and Strablane, northwest Northern Ireland (158.6)
  5. Moray,  Aberdeenshire and Highland (158.1)

Areas in England which have a two-week infection rate that is more than triple this are largely concentrated in the north.

Hyndbyrn in Lancashire and Bolton have the highest rates in the country.

An outbreak at Mount Carmel High School in Hyndburn, where as many as 50 pupils and staff were believed to have contracted the virus, is thought to be behind the rise.

Meanwhile, Bolton’s high number has been linked to international travel in India.

The town’s public health officials told a press conference on Tuesday that the infection rate among young people is particularly high in and that the majority of new cases are believed to be of the Indian variant.

Despite rising cases of the India variant, Mr Eustice insisted the ‘overall the picture is good’ (Picture: PA)

Surge testing and a drive on vaccinations are ongoing in the postcodes which have seen cases of the concerning strain, while Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham .

Scientists and doctors are concerned that a new double mutation thought to be behind a sudden surge in cases in India could be more infectious and evade vaccine immunity.

Mr Eustice said the Government was monitoring the situation closely but insisted ‘overall the picture is good.’

He added: ‘We’ve got falling incidence of the virus, and obviously with the success of the vaccine rollout as well far fewer hospitalisations and deaths are at a very low level.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there would be no return to the previous tiered system of measures when he set out his lockdown roadmap in February.

The PM has spoken consistently of seeing a ‘cautious but irreversible’ lifting of restrictions and on Monday confirmed that step three of easing will go ahead next week.

It means that from mat 17, pubs and restaurants can reopen indoors and people will be allowed to mix indoors as two households or under the rule of six.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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