The areas with the highest Covid-19 case rates in England

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said he received ‘no answers’ when he asked for an explanation as to why the borough’s case rate had increased.

People walk past a Covid alert poster
People walk past a Covid alert poster

While coronavirus rates are falling across most local areas in England, some are seeing cases rise again.

The latest figures show that the district of Swale in Kent now has the highest Covid-19 rate in the country, overtaking the Yorkshire city of Hull, which is second.

The seaside borough reported a rate of 631.7 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to November 18, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

This is up from 425.8 cases per 100,000 reported for the previous seven days.

Swale Borough Council had been due to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to assess the situation.

Council leader Roger Truelove said the recent rise in cases is a “significant cause for concern”, adding that it is “frustrating to still see people not wearing face coverings or keeping their distance when they should”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice said “precautionary measures” are in place at Swaleside, Standford Hill and Elmley Prisons, which are all located on the Isle of Sheppey, within the district, following “a number of positive cases”.

The Kent district of Thanet has also seen its coronavirus case rate increase from 460.8 per 100,000 people to 515.1 in the seven days to November 18.

The local authority area, which covers the towns of Margate and Ramsgate, now has the fourth-highest rate in England.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said he had tried to get a “reasoned explanation” from health officials about what caused the increase, but received “no answers”.

The Conservative MP said: “As a country, we are particularly good at collecting data and collating statistics but on this I am hugely disappointed.

“There is no publication of the stratification of age of those infected, nor the likely source of infection – is it care homes, hospitals, schools, shops, places of worship or the domestic setting because of poor adherence to rules and guidance? Or is it none of these?

“I find it scarcely believable that east Kent residents are any different in their approach to anywhere else. There has to be an underlying reason.”

While Hull has the second-highest Covid-19 rate in England, the figure has dropped from 785.3 per 100,000 people to 615.1 in the seven days to November 18.

Meanwhile, the coastal borough of East Lindsey in Lincolnshire has the third-highest coronavirus case rate, which has dropped only slightly from 517.9 to 515.8 over the same period.

Tony McGinty, assistant director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, said there had been an increase in cases among the older population in the area.

He said: “Case rates have increased rapidly in East Lindsey, similar to other areas of the country that previously had low infection rates.

“To some extent, this might be due to people crossing over borders to work in areas of high infection, and it might also be about these areas of previous low infection rates catching up with the rest of the country.”

He added: “We are seeing a rise in cases among the older population and are working with our partners to support and protect our most vulnerable residents from becoming infected.”

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said: “I’ve been disappointed to see the rates of coronavirus rise in East Lindsey, and, having been one of the areas with the lowest rates to one of the highest, it’s clear that we need to reassert control over this virus.”

The Conservative MP added: “Local efforts since March have been admirable, but we must not relax nor become complacent.”

Latest figures show that in only two of England’s nine regions are a majority of areas recording a week-on-week rise – London and the South East.

In all instances, the figures are for the week ending November 18 have been calculated by PA using data published by Public Health England.

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