New figures show just five local areas in the UK have recorded a week-on-week rise in coronavirus case rates, while all national and regional rates have now dropped to pre-New Year levels.
Derbyshire Dales and East Lindsey in the East Midlands and Argyll & Bute, East Renfrewshire, and Midlothian in Scotland are the only five out of the UK’s 343 local authority areas to show an increase in rates.
The figures suggest the lockdowns currently in place across the four nations of the UK are having an impact in driving down the numbers of new reported cases of coronavirus.
On Monday, the UK announced 18,607 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus - the lowest reported daily total of new cases since December 15.
The interactive map below shows how many coronavirus cases per 100,000 people there have been in the UK in the most recent seven-day period for which data is available. Use the search tool in the top right to find your local area.
In all five areas where infections rates are still increasing, the week-on-week rise was small:
Derbyshire Dales 244.7 (18.8%)
Argyll and Bute 69.9 (9.1)
East Lindsey 122.8 (8.1)
East Renfrewshire 171.7 (3.1)
Midlothian (119) (0.9)
(The first number relates to the number of cases per 100,000 people over the seven days to 27 January. The second number is the percentage increase compared to the previous seven days.)
The 5 local authority areas where COVID cases are still increasing
The number of cases reached record levels in early January, partly driven by a new variant that took hold in the South-east of England, but daily cases on average now appear to be declining.
‘Don’t even think about stretching COVID rules’
On Monday the health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed more than 100 cases of a second highly infectious variant that originated in South Africa had been identified in the country.
Crucially, 11 of these cases have not been linked to anyone travelling back to the UK, suggesting the variant may spreading in the community and be more widespread that had previously been hoped.
He said while there is no evidence the South Africa strain is more deadly, “we need to come down on it hard”.
Watch: UK must 'come down hard' on South African variant, says Health Secretary
To try and counteract the spread, Hancock said the UK would “surge” extra testing into the areas where the new variant had been found and go door to door to conduct the testing.
The strain has been found in the following postcodes: W7, N17, CR4, WS2, ME15, EN10, GU21 and PR9.
Mr Hancock said it was “imperative” that people in these areas stay at home and get a test when it is offered to them, even if they have no symptoms.
He said: “There is already a national lockdown in place that says you should not travel unless it’s absolutely necessary, and that you should stay local.
“We expect people to adhere to that everywhere… but in particular in the postcodes I have set out where people should stay at home unless they absolutely have to leave and anybody – anybody – even thinking about stretching the rules in those areas must not.”
He told reporters on a visit to a vaccine centre in Batley, West Yorkshire: “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.”
He also stressed that he believes all vaccines approved for use in the UK are effective against all new variants.
On Monday, the Government said a further 406 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 106,564.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where COVID-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 123,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The 18,607 lab-confirmed cases announced on Monday brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,835,783.
Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?