The 20 places in England where COVID-19 is spreading the fastest

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: A sign shows the way to a COVID-19 testing centre in Walthamstow on September 23, 2020 in London, England. Cases have risen to 5000 per day, and are at their highest since the height of lockdown in May.  (Photo by Mark Case/Getty Images)
A sign shows the way to a COVID-19 testing centre in Walthamstow, London. (Getty)

Newly released government figures show the places in England that have seen a rapid growth in positive test results for coronavirus over the past seven days.

Many of the hotspots showed a significant increase over the previous week.

Bolton was the only area in the country that had more than 200 infections for every 100,000 people last week – but nine areas have now passed that threshold.

Figures released on Tuesday also showed there had been another 7,143 positive test results for coronavirus in the UK over 24 hours, the highest official daily number since the outbreak began, while 71 deaths were recorded, the highest number since 1 July.

A notice containing COVID-19 precautions is displayed in the window of a tailors shop on 26 September 2020 in Eton, United Kingdom. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is aware of a rise in local coronavirus infections, has a COVID-19 outbreak management plan in place to try to ensure that the numbers do not increase further and has requested access to more coronavirus testing sites with this in mind. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
A notice containing COVID-19 precautions is displayed in the window of a tailors shop in Eton. (Getty)

Health secretary Matt Hancock said last week that surveys estimate there were around 100,000 people every day coming down with coronavirus at the peak of the pandemic in April – but a lack of testing at the time means this figure was not officially recorded.

The figures come as lockdown measures in the North East of England were tightened this week, with household mixing banned in any indoor setting – including in pubs and restaurants.

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Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, criticised the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants as people were starting to gather after closing time.

Describing the gatherings as "the opposite of what local restrictions here are trying to do”, Burnham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good.

Watch: Why are coronavirus deaths still low?

"I think there needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces across the country.”

Burnham suggested banning alcohol sales in supermarkets after 9pm to stop people crowding inside after pubs shut – but the idea was rejected by the government.

The rolling seven-day rate of new cases of COVID-19 for every local authority area in England to 26 September shows that Burnley has the highest rate in England, with 279 new cases recorded – the equivalent of 313.8 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up sharply from 164.2 in the seven days to 19 September.

Knowsley has the second highest rate, up from 177.6 to 283.0 with 427 new cases.

Social distancing notes are seen inside a Bacerloo line train in London Tube as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in fear a second wave of pandemic will take over the city and  London will face a new lockdown In London, England, on September 29, 2020.. (Photo by Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Social distancing notes are seen inside a Bakerloo line train in London. (Getty)

Liverpool, where the rate has jumped from 181.9 to 265.6 with 1,323 new cases, is in third place.

Other areas that saw sharp increases include Manchester, St Helens and Sunderland.

The figures, for the seven days to 26 September, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (“pillar one” of the government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (“pillar two”).

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent three days (September 27-29) has been excluded as it is incomplete and likely to be revised.

The 20 areas in England with the highest rates of coronavirus

Burnley: 313.8 (279), 164.2 (146)

Knowsley: 283.0 (427), 177.6 (268)

Liverpool: 265.6 (1,323), 181.9 (906)

Newcastle upon Tyne: 258.2 (782), 129.8 (393)

Halton: 222.5 (288), 173.1 (224)

Manchester: 217.1 (1,200), 156.8 (867)

Pendle: 212.8 (196), 152.0 (140)

Bolton: 206.9 (595), 221.9 (638)

St Helens: 202.1: (365), 119.1 (215)

Hyndburn: 199.9 (162), 183.9 (149)

Bury: 192.2 (367), 165.5 (316)

South Tyneside: 190.8 (288), 167.6 (253)

Preston: 187.9 (269), 180.2 (258)

Sunderland: 186.5 (518), 125.0 (347)

Oldham: 182.2 (432), 153.9 (365)

Sefton: 179.4 (496), 111.8 (309)

Warrington: 178.1 (374), 116.2 (244)

Rochdale: 171.8 (382), 130.4 (290)

Blackburn with Darwen: 167.7 (251), 171.0 (256)

From left to right, figures show: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to 26 September; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 26 September; rate of new cases in the seven days to 19 September; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 19 September.

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