Maps reveal potent pockets of Covid in England's biggest cities where cases are still rampant

COVID cases are on a downward spiral reaching the lowest levels since last September.

But some pockets of England’s largest cities are still battling infection rates as high as 700 cases per 100,0000 people.

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The coronavirus is still rampant in the Liverpool borough of Kirby south east.

Some 747.6 new cases per 100,000 people were diagnosed in the last week, according to Government data.

In Fazakerley South, a suburb of north Liverpool, the infection rate is 575.5 cases per 100,000 people.

It’s twice as high as in Corby – 315 per 100,000 – which is England’s “hotspot” when looking at areas of a larger size called local authorities. 

Meanwhile in Manchester, Strangeways has an infection rate of 506.1 per 100,000, and Broughton Park 415. 

In the Greater Manchester area, Hattersely, in Tameside, has an infection rate as high as 696 per 100,000, while Rumworth North, in Bolton, stands at 552.

The highest infection rate in Leeds city is in Farnley east, with 555 cases per 100,000.

In Birmingham, Summerfield has a case rate of 478 per 100,000, followed by Lifford and Walkers Heath (413) and Brandhall (408).

And several other neighbourhoods in the surrounding area of the West Midlands show higher than average case rates – including 555 in Featherstone West, Coven and Shareshill, in Staffordshire.

Only one patch in London has an infection rate higher than 400 cases per 100,000.

Southall West, west London, had 423.2 new cases per 100,000 last week.

There were no parts of Newcastle with relatively high case rates.

Overall, of the 6,792 small areas in England, 1,485 have seen an increase in cases in the past week.

The largest jump was in St James's Park and Hoopern, Exeter, where cases are 10-fold higher to 584.2 per 100,000.

Molescroft, in East Riding of Yorkshire, is second, where cases grew seven-fold to 164.4 per 100,000.

The data show that outbreaks of Covid can quickly drive up the infection rate of a singular postcode.

And some aeras still have a way to go to curb the spread of the virus ahead of the Prime Ministers “roadmap” out of lockdown. 

Boris Johnson is preparing the blueprint this weekend, due to be revealed next week, which is expected to start with a reopening of schools on March 8.

The PM has said he wants a nationwide approach to lifting rules, regardless if case numbers vary between areas.

Speaking to reporters in Batley, West Yorkshire, on February 1, he said: "It may be that a national approach, going down the tiers in a national way, might be better this time round, given that the disease is behaving much more nationally.

“I mean there are a few discrepancies, a few differences, so it may be that we will go for a national approach but there may be an advantage still in some regional differentiation as well. I'm keeping an open mind on that.”

“Postcode” restrictions, similar to the tiered system which was fraught with confusion, have not been ruled out by ministers. 

Yesterday Helen Whately, the health minister suggested locking down parts of the country like last summer could make a return.

Asked about the prospect of postcode lockdowns, Ms Whately told Sky News: “Well, I would say probably wait until next week when the Prime Minister sets out that roadmap for how we are going to come through it.

“But we have clearly learnt a huge amount. We learnt during the summer about how to manage localised outbreaks and take that approach.

“But I don't really want to preempt what we are going to hear next week.”

Senior Government sources have said they are aware that swift local crackdowns may be necessary in the future.

One told The Sun: "Clearly it is not a problem at the moment because of the existing lockdown restrictions.

"But there is a big question about what you do when lockdown does start lifting and we see variants that we have concerns about.

“It is definitely something that we’re aware of that will need to be considered.

"But we need to work out exactly what the mechanisms are that we need to have in place."

Already, residents in a number of postcodes across the country where variants have been detected have been told not to leave their houses.

Meanwhile, one of Britain’s biggest virus surveys has found Covid infections have dropped even faster than the scientists could have hoped for.

The React study found cases have gone down by two thirds in a month and the R rate is as low as 0.6 in London.

Meanwhile, Covid deaths have fallen by more than 25 per cent in a week.

Public Health England data shows almost 99 per cent of the 149 large authority areas have seen a decrease in cases in the past week.

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