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Covid hotspots MAPPED: 5 areas record rising infections one month on from Freedom Day

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A month has passed since England’s so-called Freedom Day which saw Covid restrictions lifted fully for the first time in 16 months. Nightclubs reopened, masks became non-mandatory and social distancing rules came to an end in many settings. Express.co.uk has analysed recent Covid infection data and identified five areas around the UK which are reporting a rise or sustained rate of new cases, according to the ZOE Covid Study app.

Covid cases have fallen over recent weeks, with the average number of new daily cases showing a small rise lately.

On Friday, a further 37,314 confirmed cases were reported in the UK.

There have been more than 6.4 million confirmed cases in the country so far, with more than 130,00 having died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

According to the latest Government data, there are currently 6,441 patients in hospitals of which 928 patients are in ventilation beds.

This time last year, the UK was taking small steps to what would become the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

This prompted tighter local restrictions and a series of lockdowns.

Case numbers are currently more than 30 times higher than at the same point last year.

Trends in these figures reveal rates are on the rise after dropping earlier this year.

Case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths are all higher than last year, but this may be due to increased testing.

Last year, almost every positive case was a person with a cough, fever or loss of smell or taste, but now asymptomatic people are being tested.

A leading virologist today said the UK should not “take its eye off the ball” on Covid booster vaccines.

Chris Smith, a specialist at the University of Cambridge, told BBC Breakfast: “We all agree that [the pandemic] is not over until it is over in every corner of the world, because otherwise it will just come roaring back.

“But one must not take one’s eye off the ball here because it would be very easy to unstitch all of the good work we’ve done so far if it turns out with time we do lose immunity because the vaccines wane in their effectiveness.”

He added the Joint Committee and Vaccination and Immunisation is looking to “intervene strategically in certain groups”, saying it is a “critical period” right now.

Dr Smith said: “They’re going to have to make a decision soon because winter is soon going to be upon us and it takes time for the programme to be rolled out and it takes time for the vaccines to actually have their effects in these people.”

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But which areas of the UK are at the highest risk of infections now?

The ZOE Covid Symptom Study app compiles data revealing the risk levels for areas in England and shows how prevalent the virus is in each area.

According to the ZOE Covid Study, five areas reported a rise in the prevalence of the virus in the past week:

  • Bury: 1,658 prevalence rate per 100,000
  • Rochdale: 1,796 prevalence rate per 100,000
  • Belfast: 1,684 prevalence rate per 100,000
  • Brighton and Hove: 1,484 prevalence rate per 100,000
  • Milton Keynes: 1,474 prevalence rate per 100,000.

An additional 13 areas have an implied steady rate of coronavirus in the past week:

  • Lincolnshire
  • Peterborough
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Lambeth
  • Newham
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • South Tyneside
  • Oldham
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Kingston-upon-Hull, City of
  • Leeds
  • North East Lincolnshire.

Only six areas have shown a decrease in the prevalence of the virus in the past week according to the data.

These areas include: East Riding of Yorkshire, Enfield, Hackney, Merton, Redcar and Cleveland and Isle of Wight.

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