Covid-19 cases are on the rise in most regions of England - with the highest rate among 10 to 19-year-olds

A member of the public wears a face mask in, Bradford in Yorkshire, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock published a new review which found black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are at significantly higher risk of dying from Covid-19. 3 June 2020
Credit: PA

Covid-19 case rates in most regions of England have risen slightly, according to the latest weekly data from Public Health England.

The findings were released just hours after Boris Johnson said he didn't "see anything currently in the data” to divert from the June 21 target for the next stage of exiting lockdown. He added that “we may need to wait” for more data.

There have been fears in recent days that the spread of the Indian variant could derail the plan to lift lockdown in England on June 17. North-west England has seen the largest rise in case rates, with 52.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 23, up week-on-week from 39.

The East Midlands is the only region to have seen a slight fall in rates, down from 21.7 to 21.

The slight rise in case rates can also be seen among all age groups.

Credit: AP

The highest rate is among 10 to 19-year-olds, with 55.2 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 23, up week-on-week from 43.5. This is also the age group to see the biggest week-on-week increase.

On Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister said: “As I have said many times, I don’t see anything currently in the data to suggest that we have to deviate from the roadmap. But we may need to wait. “Don’t forget the important point about the intervals between the steps of the roadmap, we put that five weeks between those steps to give us time to see what effect the unlockings are having.”

Meanwhile, Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental in persuading the government to bring in the first lockdown, has said the eagerly-awaited date hangs in the balance.

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He told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning that experts were still concerned about issues including the transmissibility of the Indian variant.

“Step 4 (of the road map) is rather in the balance, the data collected in the next two to three weeks will be critical," he added. “The key issue as to whether we can go forward is: will the surge caused by the Indian variant – and we do think there will be a surge – be more than has been already planned in to the relaxation measures? “In the next two or three weeks we will be able to come to a firm assessment of whether [June 21] is possible to go forward.”