COVID-19: The areas where infections are at least three times higher than average

COVID rules have been relaxed throughout the UK but infection rates vary widely with seven local authority areas reporting rates at least three times the national average in the week ending 4 April.

Clackmannanshire in Scotland has the highest weekly rate in the UK at 211.5 cases per 100,000 people. Corby in Northamptonshire and Barnsley in Yorkshire are also above 100 cases per 100,000 people.

This compares to a UK average of 32.5 per 100,000. In total, one third of local authority areas reported a higher than average infection rate in the most recent week for which data is available.

Explore the map below to discover the case rate in your area.

Cases have fallen significantly in most areas since the January lockdown began, even in those most affected. The chart below shows the trend in the areas with the highest rates, compared to the UK average.

Luton, Corby and Mansfield had particularly high rates when the UK entered lockdown and so had further to fall. While it is clear that cases have reduced in those areas, the progress has been slightly slower in recent weeks.

Overall just 14 out of 127 local authorities with rates above average recorded an increase in cases in the last week.

Last summer some scientists and politicians questioned the decision to relax restrictions nationally saying rates were still too high for increased social contact in parts of England.

This time the vaccination rollout means there is a higher degree of immunity in the community. Older and more vulnerable populations are less likely to need hospital treatment or die.

More than 60% of UK adults have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 90% of over 50s have been given a jab in all but 29 of England’s 314 local authority areas.

While the vaccines offer hope, they are not 100% effective and the jury is still out on how much they can prevent transmission or combat new variants.

Every relaxation of the rules carries a risk. The government will hope people continue to follow the rules and the scientists will be monitoring infections closely.

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