Covid cases spiral in parts of England amid confusion over transition

25 May 2021, 19:02

Five areas of England have returned to Covid-19 rates of over 100 for the first time in months
Five areas of England have returned to Covid-19 rates of over 100 for the first time in months. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Coronavirus infection rates continue to spiral in the parts of England where the Indian variant has been detected.

Five areas of the country - Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, Bedford, Rossendale and Kirklees - have returned to Covid-19 rates of over 100 per 100,000 people for the first time in months.

Covid-19 rates in Bolton are now at their highest level for more than six months, with 452.1 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to May 21 - up from 300.8 the previous week.

Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest rate, up week-on-week from 130.9 to 301.9, with 452 new cases.

READ MORE: 'There is no local lockdown': Councils speak out after Covid advice confusion

EXPLAINED: Can you travel to affected areas?

Bedford has the third highest, up week-on-week from 128.1 to 193.9, with 336 new cases, while Rossendale in Lancashire and Kirklees in West Yorkshire have returned to March levels and continue to climb.

In Rossendale, the rate jumped week-on-week from 28.0 to 113.3 in the seven days to May 21, while the rate has risen from 70.5 to 106.6 in Kirkless after 469 new cases were recorded in the same period.

It follows confusion over guidance changed on the Gov.uk website last week which told people to avoid travelling in and out of eight areas where the Indian variant has been detected.

Guidance published on Friday evening said that people should "avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential" but local leaders confirmed on Tuesday that it was a poorly-worded already established guidance had only been reformatted and that no new enforceable rules had been introduced.

READ MORE: Government 'hopeful' Wembley will be full for Euro 2020 matches

A joint statement issued by directors of public health in Burnley, Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside said: "Following the national coverage of recently revised guidance we have met with national officials and confirmed there are no restrictions on travel in or out of each of our areas: There are no local lockdowns.

"In areas where the new Covid variant is spreading we are all working together to boost testing and vaccination and to support self-isolation.

"There are sensible public health precautions people can take as individuals in line with the sorts of advice we have all been following throughout the pandemic.

"We will keep sharing that and working with national officials to make sure people understand what they need to think about as they go about their daily lives."

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