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Whole UK ‘could be vaccinated by MAY’ as Boris eyes school return

The UK passed the landmark of 10million vaccine doses last night, amid hopes that all adults could have received Covid jabs by the end of August.

The government has revealed another 352,935 jabs were administered in 24 hours as the huge push continues, taking the total into eight figures.

Around three million people aged between 65 and 69 will start to be sent letters, meaning that some areas may be able to offer vaccines to those below the age of 70 before February 15 – when the four most vulnerable groups should have been covered.

The news suggests that the UK is on track to surpass its goal of offering jabs to all over-70s by mid-February. Some in Whitehall are reportedly hopeful that the whole adult population will be provided with doses by the beginning of May.

There are added hopes that all of those adults could have received their follow-up jab by the end of August.

One senior government source told The Times: ‘ There’s no secret plan to vaccinate everyone by the end of May but it’s fair to say that summer isn’t seen internally as wildly overoptimistic.

Growing reliance on pharmacies to deliver the jab could help with the speed of the rollout, along with younger people finding it easier to travel to receive a jab.

However, other government sources said that could be too optimistic, telling MailOnline that supply constraints alone are likely to rule it out. It would require an average of around 500,000 doses to be administered every day for the next 12 weeks. 

With cases and deaths easing and the rollout of jabs surging ahead of schedule, Boris Johnson is said to have ordered a ramping up of preparations for children to get back in classrooms from March 8 – despite anxiety from scientists that the date he has set will be too early. 

Nicola Sturgeon heaped pressure on the PM yesterday by declaring that Scottish pupils will start to return from February 22, weeks ahead of England, even though the progress with vaccines north of the border has been far slower. 

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield joined calls for teaching staff to be vaccinated so pupils can return sooner.

However, concerns are rising about the South African mutant strain, with a testing ‘surge’ under way to find how widely it is spreading in communities.  

SAGE member Calum Semple warned this morning that the outbreak is still at a relatively high level and suggested March 8 could be too fast for reopening schools.

‘The challenge here is that if you do open schools and everything else stays closed, then clearly you will get some increased transmission associated with schools as a whole and with the teenagers,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

‘And that will add to the problems of the so-called R number, so we really do need to get transmission down a lot further, in my opinion. 

‘Much, much further because we’re still at very high levels of transmission within the community…

‘It would be great if we can do it (open schools again) in about a few weeks’ time but I personally don’t think we’re there yet.’ 

In other dramatic moves in the pandemic struggle:  

  • Matt Hancock has announced that a testing ‘surge’ and stay at home clampdown is being expanded to parts of Bristol and Liverpool amid rising fears about mutant coronavirus strains;
  • The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield insisted teachers should receive Covid-19 vaccinations after the first on the priority list as calls grow for schools to reopen; 
  • Nicola Sturgeon has announced Scottish children can start returning to school from February 22, weeks before those in England after her top medical adviser said it was safe for them to go back;
  • GPs are calling for runny noses and other cold-like symptoms to be added to the list of tell-tale signs for coronavirus; 
  • Ursula von der Leyen has thrown her deputy leader under the bus over the EU vaccine shambles, that saw Brussels threaten Britain with a vaccine export ban;
  • Downing Street has insisted the Government did not ‘cut corners’ in its rollout of the coronavirus vaccination programme following criticism from senior European figures; 
  • Quarantine hotels intended to stop more coronavirus variants from getting into the UK are not expected to be up and running for weeks;
  • Heathrow passengers have been left fuming as they continue to face hour-long queues at border control after the new negative test rule was enforced;
  • Banning indoor visits to elderly relatives in care homes could soon be made illegal, with legislation drafted to stop families being torn apart;
  • Dubai has forced all of its pubs and bars to close after a surge in Covid cases at the influencer-packed destination since the start of the New Year.

Boris Johnson discussed the state of play in the coronavirus crisis with Cabinet this morning - with most ministers dialling in remotely but Priti Patel in the room

Boris Johnson discussed the state of play in the coronavirus crisis with Cabinet this morning – with most ministers dialling in remotely but Priti Patel in the room

Margaret Swift, 69, from Balgreen in Edinburgh, gets her her vaccine at the coronavirus at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre yesterday

Margaret Swift, 69, from Balgreen in Edinburgh, gets her her vaccine at the coronavirus at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre yesterday

Children’s commissioner backs jabs for teachers  

The Children’s Commissioner yesterday insisted teachers should receive Covid-19 vaccinations after the first on the priority list as calls grow for schools to reopen.

Anne Longfield said about 500,000 teachers and 500,000 support staff could all be given the jab ‘in a couple of days’ given recent data on UK vaccination capacity.

She added that this would only mean the under-70s would have to wait an extra 48 hours while teachers got their vaccinations in order to get schools reopened.

Mrs Longfield added that headteachers have told her it is vital to carry out rapid lateral flow tests on pupils to ‘help ensure schools stay open for good this time’.

For comparison, 22,195 infections and 592 deaths were recorded last Monday, meaning cases have fallen by 16.2 per cent week-on-week and deaths by 31.4 per cent.

Government data also revealed another 322,000 Covid vaccines were dished out on Sunday, meaning 9.3million Britons have now received their first dose. No10 promised to vaccinate 13.9million of the most vulnerable by mid-February, in order to begin easing lockdown restrictions. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said those who had received a first dose of the life-saving drug included more than half of the over-70s, plus nine in 10 of the over-80s. 

One senior Government source said: ‘The Prime Minister is really determined to get children’s education back on track and to make sure that those who have fallen behind don’t stay behind.

‘We are going to make sure we give them the help to do that.’ 

Discussing vaccines, another source said: ‘We are cautiously optimistic about the target now, and looking ahead to the next age groups. The priority is to ensure that everyone over 70 is offered the vaccine by the deadline, but we are now expecting to be able to start sending letters out to those in their 60s from next week’. 

Yesterday Mr Johnson insisted lockdown is working and vaccines are effective against coronavirus variants — as he held out hopes summer holidays can happen this year. 

The Prime Minister struck a positive tone as he visited a vaccination site in Yorkshire, saying there was evidence of a ‘flattening and maybe even a falling off of infection rates and hospitalisations’.

After a leaked Cabinet Office report hailed the ‘stabilising’ situation, he also stressed that the Government believes all the jabs being used in the UK are effective against all variants. And after mixed messages from ministers he said he was ‘optimistic’ that Britons will be able to go on summer breaks.

But Mr Johnson dodged committing to any timetable, amid fears that the South African version of the disease is transmitting in the community. 

The PM told reporters on his visit to the vaccination hub in Batley: ‘We are starting to see some signs of a flattening and maybe even a falling off of infection rates and hospitalisations.

‘But don’t forget that they are still at a very high level by comparison with most points in the last 12 months, a really very high level.

‘So the risk is if you take your foot off the throat of the beast, as it were, and you allow things to get out of control again then you could, alas, see the disease spreading again fast before we have got enough vaccines into people’s arms. That’s the risk.’

10 year old Oscar Mumby and 8 year old Harriet Mumby  are assisted with their online schoolwork by their mother Jo Mumby as homeschooling continues. One senior Government source said: 'The Prime Minister is really determined to get children's education back on track and to make sure that those who have fallen behind don't stay behind'

10 year old Oscar Mumby and 8 year old Harriet Mumby  are assisted with their online schoolwork by their mother Jo Mumby as homeschooling continues. One senior Government source said: ‘The Prime Minister is really determined to get children’s education back on track and to make sure that those who have fallen behind don’t stay behind’

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty told Boris Johnson that the current wave of the coronavirus had peaked last week

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty told Boris Johnson that the current wave of the coronavirus had peaked last week

WHY ARE SCIENTISTS SO SCARED OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT? 

The variant has mutations on its spike protein which scientists fear will make it difficult for the immune system to recognise, even in vaccinated people

The variant has mutations on its spike protein which scientists fear will make it difficult for the immune system to recognise, even in vaccinated people

Real name: B.1.351

When and where was it discovered? 

Scientists first noticed in December 2020 that the variant, named B.1.351, was genetically different in a way that could change how it acts.

It was picked up through random genetic sampling of swabs submitted by people testing positive for the virus, and was first found in Nelson Mandela Bay, around Port Elizabeth.

Using a computer to analyse the genetic code of the virus – which is viewed as a sequence of letters that correspond to thousands of molecules called nucleotides – can help experts to see where the code has changed and how this affects the virus. 

What mutations did scientists find?

There are two key mutations on the South African variant that appear to give it an advantage over older versions of the virus – these are called N501Y and E484K.

Both are on the spike protein of the virus, which is a part of its outer shell that it uses to stick to cells inside the body, and which the immune system uses as a target.

They appear to make the virus spread faster and may give it the ability to slip past immune cells that have been made in response to a previous infection or a vaccine. 

What does N501Y do? 

N501Y changes the spike in a way which makes it better at binding to cells inside the body.

This means the viruses have a higher success rate when trying to enter cells when they get inside the body, meaning that it is more infectious and faster to spread.

This corresponds to a rise in the R rate of the virus, meaning each infected person passes it on to more others.

N501Y is also found in the Kent variant found in England, and the two Brazilian variants of concern – P.1. and P.2.

What does E484K do?

The E484K mutation found on the South African variant is more concerning because it tampers with the way immune cells latch onto the virus and destroy it.

Antibodies – substances made by the immune system – appear to be less able to recognise and attack viruses with the E484K mutation if they were made in response to a version of the virus that didn’t have the mutation.

Antibodies are extremely specific and can be outwitted by a virus that changes radically, even if it is essentially the same virus.

South African academics found that 48 per cent of blood samples from people who had been infected in the past did not show an immune response to the new variant. One researcher said it was ‘clear that we have a problem’.

Vaccine makers, however, have tried to reassure the public that their vaccines will still work well and will only be made slightly less effective by the variant. 

How many people in the UK have been infected with the variant?  

At least 105 Brits have been infected with this variant, according to Public Health England’s random sampling.

The number is likely to be far higher, however, because PHE has only picked up these cases by randomly scanning the genetics of around one in 10 of all positive Covid tests in the UK.

This suggests that there have been at least 1,050 cases between December and January 27.

Where else has it been found?

According to the PANGO Lineages website, the variant has been officially recorded in 31 other countries worldwide.  

The UK has had the second highest number of cases after South Africa itself.

But other nations where it has been found include South Korea, Sweden, France, Australia, Germany, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, USA, Netherlands, Mozambique, Ireland, Botswana, New Zealand, Finland, Spain and the French island territory Mayotte.

Will vaccines still work against the variant? 

So far, Pfizer and Moderna’s jabs appear only slightly less effective against the South African variant. 

Researchers took blood samples from vaccinated patients and exposed them to an engineered virus with the worrying E484K mutation found on the South African variant.

They found there was a noticeable reduction in the production of antibodies, which are virus-fighting proteins made in the blood after vaccination or natural infection.

But it still made enough to hit the threshold required to kill the virus and to prevent serious illness, they believe.

There are still concerns about how effective a single dose of vaccine will be against the strain. So far Pfizer and Moderna’s studies have only looked at how people given two doses react to the South African variant. 

Studies into how well Oxford University/AstraZeneca‘s jab will work against the South African strain are still ongoing.

Johnson & Johnson actually trialled its jab in South Africa while the variant was circulating and confirmed that it blocked 57 per cent of coronavirus infections in South Africa, which meets the World Health Organization’s 50 per cent efficacy threshold. 

It comes as ministers urged families living in areas having mass testing to try and weed out cases of the South African coronavirus variant to ‘think twice’ about going out food shopping.

The Government announced yesterday that it would aim to swab 80,000 people as quickly as possible in eight areas of England where cases of the worrying variant have been discovered, to prevent it from spreading further.

And officials have urged people living in those areas – in specific parts of London, Surrey, Midlands, Kent, Hertfordshire, Merseyside and Lancashire – to be extremely strict about lockdown rules. 

Tory MP and universities minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘Think again before you go about activities, even those within the rules such as essential shopping. Do you really need to go for that shopping or have you got enough in?’

But experts are sceptical about the testing scheme and say the 11 people identified as infected with the strain is likely to be the ‘tip of the iceberg’, and testing will slow it down, at best.

Public Health England has discovered the cases through random spot-checks on the swabs that people testing positive have submitted through the official testing scheme. 

This means that only a small proportion of the cases are sampled and, if they can be picked up randomly, it is likely there are large numbers of them.

Professor Andrew Hayward, an infectious disease expert at University College London and a member of SAGE, said this morning that the 11 cases are the ‘tip of the iceberg’. 

He told Sky News: ‘We sequence between five per cent and 10 per cent of cases so you can immediately tell from that that we have a big under-estimation of the number of cases.’

And Professor Semple, a researcher at the University of Liverpool and also a member of SAGE, said on BBC Radio 4: ‘There is probably a few more cases out there than we even know about’.

Scientists are worried the South African strain may be able to evade immunity given by vaccines or increase the risk of people getting Covid for a second time.

Yesterday health officials joined forces with local police, councillors and firefighters to set up pop-up testing centres and visit homes in Woking in Surrey, Walsall in the West Midlands, as well as parts of London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Lancashire, to offer residents a swab.

The NHS has identified 11 individuals who tested positive for the strain despite having no known links to foreign travel.

This suggests there may be hundreds more unidentified infections among people who have caught and spread this version of the virus in the UK. Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for residents in the eight affected areas in England to stay home and take ‘extra special precautions’.

‘We need to come down on it hard and we will,’ Mr Hancock said last night, adding: ‘It’s a big effort getting this new variant… essentially finding every single case of it, that is the goal.’

A briefing document described the plan as ‘a two-week sprint’ ordered by Mr Hancock in ‘an attempt at eradication of the new variant if at all possible’.

Volunteers began handing out swab test kits to thousands of residents in a race against time to contain the South African variant of coronavirus.

More than 30 volunteers gathered at Woking Fire Station to be given a safety briefing before going door to door to hand out the PCR test kits.

Two areas of the Surrey commuter town of Woking are being targeted. Seven other areas across the UK, including the Werst Midlands and Hertfordshire, are also included in the mass testing plan.

The Goldsworth Park and St Johns area of Woking will have test kits delivered and later collected by the same volunteers.

Leisure centre worker Oakley Hargreaves was among the 100 people who had volunteered to take part in the door to door deliveries.

The 20 year old said:’ I just feel that I am doing my part, and that I am helping out. I am on furlough, and if I am honest this gets me out of bed. I think all of us want to make a contribution.’

Ministers have already banned travel from South Africa and surrounding countries in response to the threat. In response to the ever-growing threat of dangerous new variants, the Government last week ordered mandatory hotel-quarantines for arrivals from 30 ‘red list’ countries — including Portugal and South Africa. 

The PCR test — considered the gold standard method worldwide — looks for three genes present on the original virus that came out of China, the S gene, N gene and ORF1ab. Health officials are able to spot the Kent strain with regular PCR because that variant is missing the S gene.  

But the South African version is much harder to track because it shares all three genes with the original strain so PCR results cannot differentiate between the two, meaning researchers need to manually sequence each sample in a laboratory. 

PHE sources claimed they are ‘not expecting a surge in cases’ because the strain is no more transmissible than the dominant Kent one currently plaguing the country, so it has no ‘evolutionary edge’ over it. 

Last night, Mr Hancock said it was ‘on all of us’ to contain the new South African variant within the community.

‘It is not straightforward and as you say there may be further cases we don’t know about yet and our genomic sequencing is in place to try to spot them,’ he told a Downing Street press conference.

‘The most important thing is that people in the postcode areas outlined need to take extra special precautions.

‘It is absolutely vital that people in those areas minimise all social contact and get a test when the opportunity arises.

‘It’s a big effort getting this new variant… essentially finding every single case of it, that is the goal.’

Mr Hancock added that the Government contact tracing system now finds 95 per cent of contacts.

‘It has built up to this very effective level,’ he said.

In Woking, Surrey, a team of volunteers will hand deliver 9,000 PCR tests to homes from tomorrow and then collect them from doorsteps three hours later. 

A spokesman Woking Borough Council said: ‘Once the kits have been delivered the volunteers will return in about 3hours to collect them.’ 

Two cases of the South African coronavirus variant have been detected in Woking. Authorities want to know how far the variant has spread and is targeting residents living in the St Johns and Goldsworth Park areas of the town.

The nose and throat swab kits are being sent out by the Surrey Local Resilience Forum. Everyone over the age of 18 living in those areas is being asked to take the test, even those who have recently taken a test. 

Helen Futter, 57, who lives in Goldsworth Park, said she has never had a PCR test but will happily take part when she receives her package. 

She told MailOnline: ‘Of course I will do the test. I think we will do anything that will help drive the virus away and we can get on with our lives. ‘I’ve never had any symptoms so have not had to have a PCR test. I know friends who have had the virus and a neighbour who was a NHS porter died last year after being infected.’ 

Helen Sheldrake said: ‘It makes sense to take part in the testing. I heard about it on the news and there are just a couple of people in the area who have the strain,’ she said. ‘I can’t see anyone turning down as we are all in this together and anything that can drive down the virus has to be a good thing.’ 

People living in Southport, Merseyside, will be tested at mobile pop-up centres and by health volunteers going door-to-door. The programme will be rolled out from tomorrow and is being organised by Sefton Council.

Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said: ‘Although it seems this new variant can still be combated through vaccination, it could be more transmissible, which means it could spread more quickly.

‘That’s why it is important we carry out this additional testing to try and identify it and to limit the number of us who might be exposed to it.

‘We will be setting up dedicated test sites for the new variant and once they are in place, I would encourage everyone aged over 16 in the areas targeted to get tested as soon as possible, even though they don’t have symptoms.

‘This will help us find any cases of the new variant and help stamp it out.’

In a desperate attempt to keep track of the South African variant that experts fear could effect the current crop of vaccines, health officials will carry out swabs in Woking in Surrey, Walsall in the West Midlands, as well as parts of London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Lancashire

WHERE IS DOOR-TO-DOOR TESTING BEING OFFERED?

London

W7: Hanwell

N17: Tottenham

CR4: Mitcham

West Midlands

WS2: Walsall

East of England

EN10: Broxbourne

South East 

ME15: Maidstone

GU21: Woking

North West

PR9: Southport 

It was claimed that quarantine hotels intended to stop more coronavirus variants from getting into the UK will not be up and running for weeks.

The squeeze was finally announced by the government last week after intense wrangling between ministers – with Priti Patel and Matt Hancock among those pushing for even tougher action.

But rules forcing all Britons coming from 30 ‘red list’ countries to isolate in hotels for 10 days at their own expense are still not expected to take effect until February 15.

Officials have admitted there are serious logistical issues to the policy, including setting up enough accommodation for the arrivals and making sure it can be guarded.

The delay comes amid rising fears that the South African variant is already loose in the UK, and other more potent mutant strains could lessen the effectiveness of the vaccine drive.  

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is facing accusations that he ignored advice from SAGE weeks ago that the borders should be closed.

A paper from the scientific group on January 21 said full closure of the borders was the only way to stop variants spreading.

However, No10 has angrily denied the idea, saying SAGE specifically said the government should not ‘rely’ on travel bans and there was no ‘zero risk’ option available.

The PM’s aides said the paper called for an ‘effective policy regime including testing and or quarantine/isolation for travellers’. ‘This is the policy step we took,’ one No10 source said.

Nicola Sturgeon has fuelled tensions by saying she will unveil new border measures for Scotland later because Mr Johnson’s restrictions are too weak. Labour is also calling for all arrivals to face enforced quarantine.  

Prof Calum Semple, a member of SAGE, admitted this morning that Britain was a ‘complex transit country’ and a full border closure was not practical as it would stop food imports.

But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘In general I do support restricting movement, particularly of people in this time.’ 

So far Pfizer and Moderna’s jabs, of which the UK has ordered 57million doses, appear only slightly less effective against the South African variant, according to lab studies by the jab makers published last week.

Even with the slight reduction in efficacy, the research strongly suggests the vaccines will still be able to kill off the new strain before it can cause serious illness.

Researchers took blood samples from vaccinated patients and exposed them to an engineered virus with the worrying mutations found on the South African variant.

They found there was about a noticeable reduction in the production of antibodies, which are virus-fighting proteins made in the blood after vaccination or natural infection.

But, in a boost to the world’s immunisation efforts, the team said the number of antibodies produced was still high enough to kill the mutant strain.  

There are still concerns about how effective a single dose of vaccine will be against the strain. So far Pfizer and Moderna’s studies have only looked at how people given two doses react to the South African variant, and Britain has decided to delay giving people two doses to get more people jabbed quickly.

Johnson & Johnson confirmed last week that its world-first single shot jab, which Britain has pre-ordered 30million doses of, blocked 57 per cent of coronavirus infections in South Africa, which meets the World Health Organization’s 50 per cent efficacy threshold and hints that one shot may be enough to fend off the new strain. That jab is expected to be rolled out in the coming months once it seals approval.

Studies into Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s jab, which Britain has ordered 100million doses of and is already dishing out to the most vulnerable, and the South African strain are still ongoing. 

Reacting to yesterday’s announcement, Professor Jonathan Ball, a molecular virologist at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘We know that some coronavirus variants might be less easily killed by antibodies raised against some of the existing vaccines, but the levels of immunity are hopefully still sufficient to prevent serious disease. 

‘But we can’t be certain that vaccine immunity might not be adversely impacted, especially after a single dose, which is why it is important to try to prevent these variants from spreading widely. 

‘That will mean effective social distancing and identifying where the variants are currently circulating, so we can stop them in their tracks through effective testing, track and trace and isolating infected individuals.’

The postcodes where health bosses are carrying out door-to-door Covid tests

W7: Hanwell (EALING)

Hanwell is a middle of the road, middle class area in leafy West London, with a healthy mix of white and BAME residents. 

Some parts of the area have wide, tree-lined avenues and is quite sought after among young families. 

Hanwell has a growing population of youngish professionals, especially in the southern part, and a variety of bars and restaurants to serve them 

  • POPULATION: 29,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 60%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 27,223 (7,964.5)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 583 (170.6)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 29%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £570,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 19%

N17: Tottenham (HARINGEY)

Tottenham is a densely built-up, multiracial district situated six miles north of the Tower of London. 

It is most famous for its Premier League football club which plays at white Hart Lane in the centre of the area. 

Tottenham is home to some of the least affluent households in northern London, which means that rents are very affable compared with the rest of the capital.

  • POPULATION: 64,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 80%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 19,315 (7,189.7)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 373 (138.8)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 13%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £380,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 30%

CR4: Mitcham (CROYDON)

Originally a village in the county of Surrey, Mitcham is a culturally diverse area within the London Borough of Merton.  

Mitcham’s peaceful, semi-rural location attracts both retirees and families.

It is the home of Mitcham Cricket Club which is reportedly the oldest cricket ground still in use, having been used since 1685. 

  • POPULATION: 58,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 71%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 28,326 (7,324.9)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 685 (177.1)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 17%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £385,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 22%

WS2: Walsall (WEST MIDLANDS)

Walsall has been majorly redeveloped and modernised since the 1970s and is still being constantly developed.

The market town is home to some of the most highly deprived neighbourhoods in the borough of Walsall.

Walsall is a culturally diverse town where people of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi background form the largest minority groups.

  • POPULATION: 39,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 35%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 21,634 (7,578.2)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 622 (217.9)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 8%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £130,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 21%

EN10: Broxbourne (HERTFORDSHIRE)

The tranquil town was voted the most desirable commuter town by a survey by Hamptons International last year.

The area includes mostly semi detached and detached homes and the average house price is £417,000.

A train to Liverpool Street takes under half an hour. 

  • POPULATION: 17,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 14%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 8,518 (8,756.3)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 156 (160.4)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 25%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £460,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 11%

ME15: Maidstone (KENT)

The historic town’s combination of rural riverside living and modern amenities make it a desirable place to live particularly for residents commuting to London. 

Maidstone is predominantly white and middle class. It lies 32 miles east-south-east of the capital. 

The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary.

  • POPULATION: 48,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 11%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 11,794 (6,863.9)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 281 (163.5)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 21%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £320,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 11%

GU21: Woking (SURREY)

The town of Woking in Surrey is predominantly white, middle class and is one of the main commuter towns in Surrey with residents having a 30 minute train journey into London.

The area includes mostly semi detached and detached homes. 

The main employer is the McLaren racing car group while one of its most famous residents was singer Paul Weller from The Jam pop group.

  • POPULATION: 4,200
  • BAME POPULATION: 26%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 5,970 (5,923.0)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 136 (134.9)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 35%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £455,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 11%

PR9: Southport (SEFTON, MERSEYSIDE)

Southport is a former Victorian seaside town which has traditionally been seen as more upmarket than Blackpool down the coast.

Its MP is a Tory compared to most other seats in Merseyside which are mostly Labour.

Southport has some large Victorian villas however there are pockets of deprivation.

There is a Pontins holiday camp as well lots of other caravan parks.

  • POPULATION: 43,000
  • BAME POPULATION: 8%
  • COVID CASES (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 21,268 (7,694.4)
  • COVID DEATHS (TOTAL, PER 100,000 PEOPLE): 593 (214.5)
  • AB SOCIAL GRADE: 19%
  • AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE: £190,000
  • UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 10%

NOTES: Department of Health officials do not break down Covid cases or deaths by postcode, meaning the figures above are for the local authorities they belong to. 

Officialsinsisted there would be 80,000 people who need to get tested across the eight postcodes – but only offered the simple postcodes. Other websites claim that the postcodes mentioned are home to around 300,000 people. 

AB social grade is the percentage of the population who are considered ‘white-collar’ middle-upper class.

Source: www.postcodearea.co.uk

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