Watch: Nottingham authorities push for stricter rules after 'worrying' spike and university outbreaks
Nottingham now has the highest weekly rate of new COVID-19 cases in England after more than 2,000 cases were recorded in the city in one week.
A total of 2,294 new cases were recorded in the seven days to October 5, data shows – the equivalent of 689.1 cases per 100,000 people.
It is an increase of 463.6% on the previous week that saw 407 new cases or 122.3 per 100,000 people.
Nottingham is also well ahead of the area with the second-highest rate, Knowsley, which is now on 601.2 cases per 100,000 people.
After Nottingham, the next five places (Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Burnley) on the list are already in local lockdown. Sheffield is seventh on the list with 398.2 cases per 100,000 and is not currently subject to enhanced restrictions.
All figures are based on Public Health England data published on Thursday afternoon.
Nottingham’s council leader has said delays in implementing coronavirus restrictions are placing “an unnecessarily huge burden on local resources.”
Councillor David Mellen called for the Government to “let us get on with taking the action ourselves.”
The increase in infections is being partly driven by a recent outbreak at the University of Nottingham, as figures on its website showed 425 students had tested positive for COVID-19 during the week ending last Friday.
On Thursday, news emerged that the city would learn what restrictions would be imposed on Monday – sparking a fear from the council that people would think the weekend “is the last chance before Christmas” to have a party.
Leaders in other areas that are to face enhanced restrictions reacted with anger to the proposal that included closing pubs and restaurants.
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said the government was treating the North “like a petri dish” for local lockdown experiments.
Leaders complained they had not been given enough warning about the proposals, there was nothing in them about financial support and were upset they would be implemented before the effects current measures had been felt.
Watch: Infection rate doubles in some parts of England after inclusion of 16,000 missed cases
Other politicians including Labour leader Keir Starmer have demanded to know why local lockdowns have not been working as infection rates those areas have continued to rise.
The need to slow the rise of infections has become apparent as hospital admissions continue to rise.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the nation was facing a “perilous” moment and added hospitalisations in the North West are doubling every fortnight.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for PHE, said: “We are seeing a definite and sustained increase in cases and admissions to hospital.
“The trend is clear and it is very concerning.”
New figures show that there were 3,044 COVID-19 patients in hospital in England as of Thursday, up from 1,995 a week ago, while 368 COVID-19 hospital patients were in ventilation beds, up from 285 a week ago.
Nottingham City Council said they were led to believe the Government had intended to introduce new restrictions this week until they heard of a proposed delay until Monday.
Mellon said: “We were working towards new Government restrictions being imposed this week.
“While we are already urging local residents to stick to their social bubbles and not mix with anyone outside their households, we are very concerned about the possible implications of the Government not imposing extra restrictions until next week.
“There is a chance this weekend that people might think this is the last chance before Christmas, let’s go out and party – and we can’t have that.”
Mellon continued: “It seems like we’re victims of a Government change of approach and therefore even though we’ve got very high numbers that we’ve known about since the beginning of the week, we’ve got to wait until next week for Government to bring in what we expect will be new restrictions in Nottingham.
“We need Government to act urgently and decisively or better still, give us the powers to let us get on with taking the action ourselves.
“It unnecessarily places a huge burden on our local resources to manage the clear potential for people to decide to go out and socialise one last time this weekend before local measures are introduced, which runs the risk of making a bad situation even worse in terms of infection rates.
“All we can do is urge people to do the sensible thing and stay at home. This deadly virus is now rife in our city and you are putting yourselves and others at risk unless you take this seriously and follow the strict guidance that’s in place.”
Director of public health for Nottingham Alison Challenger said there was “no need” to wait for Government restrictions and urged people in the city not to mix with other households.
She added: “We are seeing an increase in COVID patients being admitted to hospital locally which is of serious concern.”