Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Weiner
A number of towns, cities and boroughs have been identified as possibly at risk areas which could follow Leicester into a local lockdown.
The Midlands city has re-entered strict lockdown conditions with non-essential shops and schools now closed again, just as the rest of England prepares to reopen pubs, bars and restaurants this weekend.
Figures released by Public Health England show the rate of new cases in each area, based on tests which have been carried out in labs (‘pillar 1’ of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (‘pillar 2’).
The data provides a more comprehensive overview of the country than the daily figures for local areas that are published on the Department for Health website, which are based solely on pillar 1 testing.
The overview could provide a detailed analysis as to which areas could be next to face a local lockdown.
ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke on why this data is crucial
According to the data, Leicester is the worst affected area with 140.2 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, more than double the amount of Covid-19 cases than the next worst hit area of Bradford, which has 69.4 cases.
Barnsley has 54.7 cases per 100,000, with Rochdale (53.6), Bedford (42.0), Oldham (38.6), Rotherham (33.6), Tameside (33.3), Blackburn with Darwen (32.9) and Kirklees (30.3) making up the top 10 worst effected coronavirus areas.
A full list of the number of cases in England per 100,000 people is included below
A joint statement from the Barnsley director of public health, Julia Burrows, and council leader, Cllr Sir Steve Houghton, said they did not believe there was a need for the city to follow Leicester and become the next place to face a local lockdown.
They said they had seen a “much slower reduction” of Covid-19 cases than the national average “largely due to local clusters of cases including in a few care homes and workplaces”.
Their statement continued: “According to our most up to date data, we have seen a reduction in the number of daily new cases and in the average number of new cases for four consecutive days. We are continuing to monitor this and other data very closely, and to proactively manage the disease locally and in line with national guidance.
“This is why we do not believe at this stage any further measures will need to be implemented such as the ones seen in Leicester.
“However, it is always important to be aware that the nature of this disease means things can change quickly and the fact our rate has been high does mean that we ask for extra caution and vigilance by everyone in Barnsley.”
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London – who quit as a Government adviser after admitting breaking lockdown rules – said the UK should be braced for regional flare-ups.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s inevitable we will (have further local outbreaks), we are relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up and that’s a very variable process.”
Prof Ferguson said there is a window of a few weeks to resolve “teething problems” in how data is shared, to have systems up and running for the scheduled full return of schools in September in England.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said the new PHE data raised questions for the Government.
He said: “The biggest of all is this: Why did they give the go-ahead for the big reopening on July 4 when they could clearly see what was happening in Leicester?”
Labour MP Yvette Cooper said health authorities in her constituency in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had been trying to get hold of pillar two testing data but had not been able to.
She said it was “appalling and incomprehensible” that basic information had not been provided.
Here is a full list which show the number of cases per 100,000 population:
Blackburn with Darwen 32.9
Cheshire East 16.0
Central Bedfordshire 15.9
East Riding of Yorkshire 14.1
North Yorkshire 13.8
Cheshire West & Chester 12.3
Milton Keynes 10.8
East Sussex 9.0
Telford & Wrekin 8.4
Kensington & Chelsea 7.7
St. Helens 6.7
Hammersmith & Fulham 5.9
Waltham Forest 5.4
Newcastle upon Tyne 5.3
Brighton & Hove 5.2
County Durham 5.1
North Tyneside 4.9
North Lincolnshire 4.7
Bracknell Forest 4.1
West Sussex 3.3
Isle of Wight 2.8
Tower Hamlets 2.8
Windsor and Maidenhead 2.0
North East Lincolnshire 1.9
Barking & Dagenham 1.4
North Somerset 1.4
Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole 1.3
Kingston upon Thames 1.1
Bath & North East Somerset 1.0
Richmond upon Thames 1.0
Redcar & Cleveland 0.7
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly 0.7
South Gloucestershire 0.4
City of London 0.0
South Tyneside 0.0
West Berkshire 0.0