Coronavirus: The UK's current COVID-19 hotspots - and how your area compares

Carmen Aguilar-Garcia, data journalist, and Tom Acres, news reporter
The government must keep track of where coronavirus remains most prevalent

While a decline in the daily number of new coronavirus cases and deaths means the government can begin to ease the UK’s lockdown, the disease has not yet been eradicated.

Sky News analysis of data from recent weeks shows how prevalent COVID-19 remains across England and Wales, detailing how many cases are being reported in your area.

Figures at a local level should be read with caution as the volatility attached to small numbers is high, but a look at the weekly new number of cases can provide a more up-to-date picture of where the coronavirus epidemic is at the moment - as seen in the map below.

SOURCE: Public Health of England and Public Health of Wales • Data at 1 June. Areas with zero new cases in the last week are grey shaded.
SOURCE: Public Health of England and Public Health of Wales • Data at 1 June

Although cases will be under-reported due to asymptomatic carriers and limited testing capacity, the map indicates Wales is home to many of the areas currently most affected.

Eight of the 10 UK areas with the highest rate of cases in the last week of May were in Wales.

Only two areas in England featured in that 10, each of which has more than 17 new cases per 100,000 population.

The Welsh areas with the highest rates were Denbighshire, Conwy, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil, Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, and Vale of Glamorgan.

The English areas were Ashford and Blackpool.

You can use the chart below to see how your area compares to these hotspots.

SOURCE: Public Health England and Public Health Wales • Data at 2 June

Compared to the peak, the number of cases is at a relatively low level across all regions.

But as the graph below shows, the disease is still present in communities throughout England and Wales.

The government will need to keep track of where the greatest concentrations of the disease emerge in future, and has said that such flare-ups will be countered with local lockdowns.

SOURCE: Public Health of England and Public Health of Wales • Data at 2 June.

The other key measure the government will monitor closely is the R number - which is the average number of people that an infected person will pass the virus on to.

When this number is well below 1, a disease will die out.

The R number was estimated to be between 2 and 3 across the country at the beginning of the outbreak, but the government said it had dropped to between 0.7 and 0.9 when it gave an update on 28 May.

Unfortunately, this metric is not available at local level and varies in different populations - depending on factors including age and how frequently people come into contact with each other.

An accurate estimation of this number at a local level would help to provide a more complete picture of how each area is responding to the easing of lockdown measures.

SOURCE: ONS • Data at 2 June. Week 20 was affected by the bank holiday.

The number of deaths is another measure to track the epidemic - and the graph above shows this metric is down across all regions.

But there is a lag between the time a person becomes infected and the point where they recover or die.

It therefore takes longer for the number of deaths to increase.

The Office for National Statistics publishes the weekly number of deaths from each local authority, but with a delay of around a fortnight.

The latest publication corresponded to the week ending 22 May.

It showed that Hertsmere, Harrow and Brent have been the areas worst affected by the disease, with more than 140 people who have died with COVID-19 registered on the death certificate per 100,000 population.

To keep the number of new cases and deaths down, the government has set up a "test and trace" programme, whereby anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19 will be asked to isolate for 14 days - even if they have no symptoms.