COVID cases now rising in 1 in 3 UK areas

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/04/15: People enjoying food and drinks in Carnaby Street area.
As the lockdown restrictions are eased from 12th April, people are able to eat and drink outside London's pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes. The
People in England flocked back to pubs and shops on MOnday as lockdown restrictions were eased (Pietro Recchia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Coronavirus cases are increasing in one in three areas of the UK, the latest infection data shows.

The government’s new figures covering the seven days up to 10 April show cases are rising in 122 of 380 local council areas – or 32% of the UK.

Bradford, Luton and Corby were the areas with the highest case rates last week, according to the data.

During the most recent week of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection study it was estimated that 112,600 people in England had coronavirus, which equates to around one in every 480 people.

By comparison in the week ending 3 April it was estimated that 161,900 were infected in England, equating to around one in every 340 people.

On the day that the UK government eased Covid restrictions to allow non-essential businesses such as shops, pubs, bars, gyms and hairdressers to re-open, crowds of shoppers walk on Oxford Street, on 12th April 2021, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Shoppers on Oxford Street as non-essential retail reopens (Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)

In its weekly infection survey, ONS said infections were at the lowest levels since Autumn, while the R rate in England fell slightly to between 0.7 and 1.

The Shetland Islands saw the biggest increase in cases, of 200%, though this was from a very low base.

Many of the areas reporting rises are doing so only at very low levels, and cases across the UK continued to fall steadily in the week pub beer gardens and hairdressers reopened, the government said.

However, the impact of the easing of lockdown restrictions will not be clear for another two or three weeks.

Northwest England had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive: around one in 260.

Shoppers walk past signs displaying COVID-19 guidelines, in the centre of Bradford, west Yorkshire on October 31, 2020, as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 rises. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering imposing a new lockdown across England within days following warnings his localised restrictions strategy has failed to curb soaring coronavirus rates, reports said Saturday. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Bradford Council displays signs outside shops reminding of the importance of social distancing, but cases in the West Yorkshire town are the highest in England this week (Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Southwest England had the lowest estimate: around one in every 1,150.

“Our modelling suggests that the percentage of people testing positive in England decreased in the week ending 10 April 2021,” the ONS said.

The drop followed a slight rise in estimated infections, as a sharp fall in cases that followed the start of England’s third lockdown in January had levelled off in recent weeks.

The latest figures showing how many cases per 100,000 people there are in each area puts the Yorkshire town of Bradford as the area where COVID is most prevalent.

The data is based on a rolling seven day rate.

The top ten areas of infections per 100,000 people are:

Bradford 92.4

Luton 92

Corby 91.4

Clackmannanshire 89.3

Mansfield 87.8

Doncaster 86.6

Derry City and Strabane 85.3

Barnsley 82.2

Boston 79.8

Leicester 77.1

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

This week a top scientist warned that a third COVID wave could cause 50,000 more deaths in the UK despite the vaccine rollout.

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there could be a “big third wave”, and potentially tens of thousands more deaths.

"I feel mighty relieved that we are now in a position where a very high proportion of the vulnerable population have been vaccinated so, if control of the virus is lost, then the damage it can do will be relatively restricted," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday.

"But when I say relatively restricted, what I mean is that a big third wave could still end up with 30,000 to 50,000 deaths, potentially, if it was a similar sort of size to the previous waves that we've had."

Watch: UK coronavirus deaths rise by 34