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The 20 places in England where COVID is spreading fastest

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
Women wearing a face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walk past a sign reminding pedestrians to wear face coverings, in Manchester, northern England on October 6, 2020, after localised restrictions were introduced across northwest following a spike in coronavirus cases. - More than 42,000 people confirmed to have Covid-19 have died in Britain, the worst toll in Europe. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Women wearing face masks in Manchester, which currently has the third-highest rate of coronavirus infections in England. (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

New data demonstrates the extent to which the spread of COVID-19 is rapidly gathering pace.

A list of the latest available seven-day infection rates for English council areas (see the top 20 at the bottom of this page) shows, for example, how the virus has spread five-fold in Nottingham.

There were 496.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to 4 October, compared to 94.3 per 100,000 in the seven days to 27 September.

Meanwhile, COVID prevalence is more than doubling in two other major cities: Leeds and Sheffield.

According to the data, which is based on government testing figures, the Merseyside borough of Knowsley has the highest rate of new coronavirus infections in the country, with 574.7 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to 4 October.

Meanwhile, with the exception of Exeter, all the areas in the top 20 are in the north of England.

It comes as leader of northern cities told the government they think local lockdown restrictions are not working.

The Labour leaders of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle city councils – Judith Blake, Sir Richard Leese and Nick Forbes – joined Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson in writing to health secretary Matt Hancock to say they are “extremely concerned” about the rise in cases.

Watch: Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson clash over 10pm curfew

They wrote: “The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm [curfew for pubs], are counterproductive.”

They called for additional powers to punish those who break rules; new restrictions to be developed by police, council and public health experts; and for a locally controlled test and trace system.

On Wednesday, meanwhile, the government recorded a further 14,162 daily cases in the UK.

This is the second highest daily figure in the entire pandemic, though more testing is now being carried out compared to the first wave in the spring – and the government has said over 100,000 people a day were contracting the virus at the peak in April.

Here are the 20 areas with the highest coronavirus infection rates per 100,000 people in the seven days to 4 October (infection rates per 100,000 for the seven days to 27 September are in brackets)

Knowsley 574.7 (334.7)

Liverpool 551.6 (342.3)

Manchester 541.5 (307.0)

Nottingham 496.8 (94.3)

Newcastle upon Tyne 479.8 (298.9)

Burnley 403.7 (373.4)

Leeds 363.5 (170.3)

Sheffield 358.2 (120.9)

Sefton 350.6 (226.8)

Exeter 338.6 (54.8)

St. Helens 332.8 (254.2)

Halton 327.6 (265.8)

Rochdale 324.6 (202.3)

Preston 306.7 (223.6)

Salford 304.8 (195.1)

Pendle 299.6 (255.1)

Sunderland 285.6 (215.7)

Hyndburn 282.6 (236.9)

Bradford 282.0 (184.2)

Bury 281.7 (216.2)

Watch: People in England face £10,000 fines for not self-isolating

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