The 36 cities and counties where Covid cases are rising – risking more local lockdowns

Did Boris/Dominic unlock too soon? Did they get the messaging wrong? Surely this wasn’t meant to happen quite so quickly? The Telegraph article contains detailed tables and graphics. Locally, Tim Spector’s symptom tracker app indicates 0.2% incidence in East Devon – i.e. falling. – Owl

Leicester looks set to be the first city where a local lockdown could be imposed – with new confirmed cases on the rise.

But it is by no means an isolated case, with 36 cities or counties across England now seeing a fresh surge in cases.

By Dominic Gilbert 29 June 2020 www.telegraph.co.uk 

Leicester looks set to be the first city where a local lockdown could be imposed – with new confirmed cases on the rise.

But it is by no means an isolated case, with 36 cities or counties across England now seeing a fresh surge in cases.

Some, such as Doncaster, have seen a larger week-on week increase in new cases, and many of the areas seeing new upticks in Covid-19 are those in urban, densely populated areas.

The Government has consistently said it will consider regional and local lockdowns if necessary, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has deployed four mobile testing sites to Leicester and made thousands of home testing kits available.

Cases on the rise

New confirmed cases are rising in 36 of the 151 upper-tier local authorities in England as the nation has begun emerging from lockdown.

Some, such as Sunderland, York and the Isle of Wight, detected just a single case in the week to June 26, but had not picked up any cases the week prior.

Others are seeing much higher numbers of new cases, including Leicester.

And cases are rising week-on-week in the city – from 39 cases in the week to June 19 to 41 cases in the week to June 26.

It is one of the epicentres of the virus in the country, with the second highest number of new cases in the week to June 26.

Doncaster has also seen a worrying spike in new cases – from 11 in the week to June 19 to 32 last week.

Derbyshire saw 25 new cases in the week to June 26, up from 23 the week before.

It is set against a general trend across the UK of falling cases, including in some of the worst-affected areas.

In Lancashire weekly cases fell from 42 to 16 in the same period, and in Essex, from 68 to 14.

The data is likely to be an underestimate, as figures published by Public Health England relate only to cases confirmed in NHS or PHE labs, not those carried out by commercial partners.

Cases rising in half of the most densely populated areas

Amid the general downturn in the virus, more than three-quarters of lower-tier local authorities (district councils and London boroughs) are seeing cases fall week-on-week.

But among the most densely-populated areas, more than half are now seeing a rise in weekly cases.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England, 12 of the 23 areas with more than 5,000 residents per square kilometre are seeing rises in new cases.

In total, 15 of the 33 London boroughs are experiencing rises in new confirmed cases, suggesting the virus has not yet been eliminated in the capital.

With Covid-19 disproportionately affected BAME households, some of the most ethnically diverse areas of England are those experiencing upticks in case numbers.

Eight of ten of local authorities with the lowest proportion of white residents are seeing a week-on-week rise in cases.

They include Leicester and London boroughs Ealing and Brent.

In response to the news that a local lockdown could be imposed on Leicester “within days”, an expert has said that defining the specific area for local lockdowns will be one of the “largest problems”.

Professor Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at University of Nottingham, said: “One of the biggest problems is deciding who is in the lockdown area and who is not.  This needs to be understandable to both the people who are inside and the people on the outside.”

He added: “Defining the specific area will be one of the largest problems.  Local authority boundaries can run down the middle of the street with one side in one local authority and the opposite another.

“Urban sprawl has allowed towns and cities to expand resulting in these areas often joining other areas who identify differently and do not see themselves as part of the expanding town or city.

“Locking down at the regional level would be seen as unfair or worse as Leicester City has really very little to do with rural Lincolnshire.  People do not identify with their regional boundaries and many would not actually know where they are.”

Prof Neal added that even islands are not necessarily simple, as some are linked by bridges and communities interact “significantly”.

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