While analysis of UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) data suggests that infections are currently in decline across all 315 local authorities in England, government scientists have warned a “return to pre-pandemic behaviours” without any curbs in place could see infection rise by 25 to 80 per cent.
As of last Friday, official testing data suggests the rate of new infections has fallen week-on-week by at least 0.7 per cent in all areas – with case rates declining by nearly 50 per cent in some parts of the country.
The largest weekly declines came in Oadby and Wigston, Barking and Dagenham, Pendle, Runnymede, and Slough – which all saw infection rates fall by at least 45 per cent, according to the data.
By contrast, the areas which saw the least change – in comparison with the week to 11 February – were Copeland, Adur, Stroud, Test Valley, and Southend-on-Sea, the latter of which saw rates fall by nearly 10 per cent.
But infection rates in some areas remained close to the peaks seen at the height of the UK’s second wave in January last year, when most of the population had not yet received a single vaccine dose, but remain far below rates recorded during the larger subsequent wave driven by the Omicron variant.
The data suggests that the 10 areas with the highest rates are all in southern England.
The top three locations – Horsham, Worthing and…