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Public Health England publish list of areas most at risk from lockdowns because of Covid-19 spikes

Five new coronavirus hotspots have tonight been highlighted as part of new data from public health chiefs which reveals the areas most at risk of being plunged into local lockdown.  

Areas such as Pendle, in Lancashire, Herefordshire, and East Staffordshire have all seen spikes in the number of coronavirus cases in the last fortnight, Public Health England has revealed.

Herefordshire, which this week had an outbreak at a large vegetable farm, resulting in 200 workers having to self-isolate, has seen its figure jump tenfold. 

Oaby and Wigston, in Leicestershire, and Luton, in Bedforshire, have also crept into the top 10 for the first time.

Leicester, which was the first and so far only area to been subject to local lockdown laws, has seen a decrease in the number of cases in the last fortnight.

However PHE data shows the city’s case figure is still as high as 100 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days leading up to July 13 – and last night Matt Hancock announced it would remain in a local lockdown.

Herefordshire, which was fourth in PHE’s list, was the area with the largest spike.

It saw its figure for the number of cases jump from 3.1 per 100,000 in the seven days up to July 6 to 43.2 per 100,000 in the seven days to July 13.

The area is home to A S Green and Co, a vegetable farm in Malven which was hit by a Covid-19 outbreak. A total of 93 staff on the farm, which supplies major supermarkets including Tesco and Aldi, have been infected with coronavirus.

A total of 200 staff, who live and work on the site, have been ordered to self-isolate.

Meanwhile, East Staffordshire saw a large rise, from 7.6 per 100,000 to 28.7 per 100,000, while the rate of new cases in Pendle in the seven days to July 13 had doubled when compared to data from the seven days leading up to July 6, going from 28.4 cases per 100,000 people to 65.6.

Other areas to feature in the list include Blackburn with Darwen, which saw figures rise from 36.3 per 100,000 for July 6 to 48.3 per 100,000 for July 13.

The rise in case numbers has sparked local officials to impose new measures in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

Measures include ordering residents in the area to wear face masks inside all enclosed public buildings and demanding no more than two people visit a household at one time.  

Other areas to feature in the top 10 list are Bradford, Peterborough and Rochdale – all who have previously featured in the top 10 list previously. 

The latest PHE data comes as comes as health bosses yesterday released an interactive map breaking down new coronavirus cases by postcode in an effort to keep a lid on local outbreaks.

The map of England, which will be updated each week, paints a clear picture showing the Covid-19 crisis in cities, towns and even small villages being hit hard by the virus.

Data showed Colwall, Cradley and Wellington Heath in Herefordshire was the worst-hit place in England last week, recording 68 new cases between July 6 and 12. 

Department of Health data revealed the next four worst-hit middle super output areas — small geographical areas used for statistics — were all in Leicester.

It comes as Matt Hancock yesterday declared Leicester must remain in lockdown except for its schools and nurseries, which will be allowed to reopen from next Friday, July 24.

The city has now been under stricter rules than the rest of England for two weeks and it must mostly remain so for another fortnight, the Health Secretary announced in an urgent statement to the House of Commons.

He said the coronavirus infection rate in the city is still too high for lockdown to be lifted, claiming it has dropped to 119 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week.

Matt Hancock yesterday declared Leicester must remain in lockdown except for its schools and nurseries, which will be allowed to reopen from next Friday, July 24. Pictured: People attend a testing centre in Leicester

Matt Hancock yesterday declared Leicester must remain in lockdown except for its schools and nurseries, which will be allowed to reopen from next Friday, July 24. Pictured: People attend a testing centre in Leicester

The city has now been under stricter rules than the rest of England for two weeks and it must mostly remain so for another fortnight, the Health Secretary announced in an urgent statement to the House of Commons. Pictured: A mobile testing centre in Leicester

The city has now been under stricter rules than the rest of England for two weeks and it must mostly remain so for another fortnight, the Health Secretary announced in an urgent statement to the House of Commons. Pictured: A mobile testing centre in Leicester

Mr Hancock revealed Leicester will stay sealed off and the city’s 330,000 residents must still avoid non-essential travel out of the area, stick rigorously to social distancing rules and not enter other people’s homes.

WHERE ARE THE 10 AREAS OF ENGLAND THAT HAVE RECORDED THE MOST CASES IN THE PAST WEEK? 

Colwall, Cradley & Wellington Heath (HERTFORDSHIRE): 68

Spinney Hill Road (LEICESTER): 51

Belgrave South (LEICESTER): 43

Undercliffe (BRADFORD): 24

Belgrave North West (LEICESTER): 24

Evington (LEICESTER): 24

Northfields & Merrydale (LEICESTER): 23

Kingsway: 22

Central Braintree (ESSEX): 21

Nelson West (BURNLEY): 20

Stoneygate North (LEICESTER): 19

Wakefield St John’s: 18

Batley Carr & Mount Pleasant (YORKSHIRE): 17

Bastwell (BLACKBURN): 17

Crown Hills: 17

Pressure had been mounting on the Government to be more transparent about rolling Covid-19 data in local areas, to prevent other towns and cities being hit by local lockdowns.

It was accused of not sharing the data quickly enough with public health officials in Leicester, which was forced to revert to lockdown on June after a spike in cases. 

The public are able to access the interactive map themselves to gain insight into Covid-19 cases near their home. But it is not possible to identify individuals by name and address.

Local public health bosses in each region will also be given positive test data and contact tracing figures each day after mounting pressure on officials to provide more data intelligence.

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has been fiercely critical of the ‘blanket’ restrictions placed on the whole city — which still has the highest infection rate in the country.

He believes locking down specific neighbourhoods in the city which are particularly badly-hit by Covid would be a less economically crippling way to tackle the disease. 

As it was revealed that Leicester must stay under lockdown, the council of Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire has limited visits to one household and two members from a separate household.

The measures differ from the strict national guidance, which says two households of any size can meet inside to start to return to normality after spending almost four months in lockdown.

The authority fears a local lockdown like that of Leicester is becoming a ‘real possibility’. Up to 85 per cent of new cases are among its South Asian population, a health chief claimed yesterday.

People are also being urged not to hug anyone from outside their own household and to get regularly tested at new mobile centres.

Residents in Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle — another Lancashire borough — have been asked to wear face masks inside to avoid being stung by local draconian restrictions. 

The map of England, which will be updated each week, paints a clear picture showing the Covid-19 crisis in cities, towns and even small villages being hit hard by the virus

The map of England, which will be updated each week, paints a clear picture showing the Covid-19 crisis in cities, towns and even small villages being hit hard by the virus

Yesterday Matt Hancock ‘paid tribute’ to the ‘fortitude’ of people living in Leicester and said it was their co-operation that would help stamp out the virus. 

He said: ‘The latest data shows that the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is now 119 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people testing positive is now at 4.8 per cent. 

The Health Secretary compared the figures to when the lockdown was imposed and the seven-day infection rate was 135 and 10 per cent of tests were positive. 

Mr Hancock added: ‘Some say the local lockdown is unnecessary. I wish this were true but sadly it remains vital for the health of everyone in Leicester, and the rest of the country, that these restrictions stay in place.’

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said yesterday that he was ‘angry and frustrated’ with the far-reaching rules in place across the city and that 90 per cent of the area was not a danger.

Speaking on Sky News yesterday, Sir Peter criticised what he described as the Government’s ‘blanket political-led lockdown’ of the whole of the city, and said he was angry and frustrated.

The rate of new cases in the seven days to July 13 compared to July 6
Local Authority  July 13   July 6
1 Leicester  99.7  126.7
Pendle  65.6  28.4 
Blackburn With Darwen  48.3  36.3 
Herefordshire  43.2  3.1 
Bradford  35.4  36.7 
6   Oadby and Wigston  31.5  36.8 
Rochdale  30.0  35.9 
Peterborough  29.3  21.4 
East Staffordshire  28.7  7.6 
10  Luton  27.6  14.9 

He said: ‘Frankly we have not been involved in any of the decision-making about this. We have been told what the political decisions will be, and we will be told again what the political decision will be.’

The mayor had said inner-city areas of Leicester with high levels of deprivation are the ‘most significantly’ affected by coronavirus and keeping the remaining 90 per cent of the city under lockdown is no longer justified.

Leicester became the first place in the country to have tight measures re-imposed on June 30 following a rise in coronavirus infections.

It comes as new NHS Test and Trace data for England shows the system is still failing to reach targets — despite the system launching almost two months ago.

More than a fifth of patients who test positive for Covid-19 are not being tracked down, shocking figures show.

Of the 3,579 Covid-19 patients in England referred to the contact tracing programme between July 2 and July 8, just 2,815 were actually tracked down (78.7 per cent).

A total of 618 people with the disease could not be reached at all by the tracers — who phone, text and email someone up to 10 times a day to get hold of them.

And communication details were not provided for another 146 Covid-19 patients, so their close contacts will have also slipped under the radar.

Scientists have warned contact tracing programmes need to catch at least 80 per cent of infections to keep the outbreak under control.

On top of this, people are still not receiving their Covid-19 test results within 24 hours, considered vital to keep the tracing system up to speed.

The proportion getting results from a so-called ‘in-person’ test — at a mobile testing site for example — has fallen week-on-week.

Some 87.7 per cent of people received the result within 24 hours in the week ending July 8, down slightly from 90.7 per cent in the week ending July 1.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month pledged to get the results of all in-person tests back within 24 hours by the end of June.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 he would get ‘all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that’. 

Turnaround times for home tests are not as fast because people post their kits back at their own leisure.

Some 3.3 per cent of people who took a Covid-19 test using a home test kit in the week ending July 8 received their result within 24 hours – up slightly on the previous week (1.8 per cent).

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