Northampton had the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the UK over the past week, it has been revealed.
The outbreak at the Greencore sandwich factory has pushed the East Midlands town to the top of the worst-affected local authority areas in England.
But local leaders say a local lockdown is unlikely to be imposed on the area imminently because the majority of the new cases were found in the factory and not the wider community.
Previously it was announced that 292 employees in total have tested positive for Covid-19 at Greencore which supplies sandwiches to M&S.
Data published by Public Health England show a total of 276 new cases were recorded in Northampton as a whole in the seven days to August 14.
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This is the equivalent of 122.9 cases per 100,000 people – up from 39.6 per 100,000 in the previous seven days to August 7.
Speaking to the press at the end of last week the leader of Northampton Borough Council, Jonathan Nunn said he still felt a local lockdown could be avoided, if people follow the guidelines.
But he admitted it was a ‘moral dilemma’ because he’s torn between encouraging people to support the local economy and taking stricter measures to ensure everyone stays safe.
Elsewhere in England, the rate in Oldham has fallen slightly from 94.5 to 91.5 per 100,000 people, with 217 new cases recorded.
Blackburn with Darwen is third, where the rate has increased from 80.2 to 86.8 with 130 new cases.
In Pendle the rate has dropped from 99.9 to 70.6 with 65 new cases, while Leicester has also seen a fall, from 63.8 to 54.5 with 193 new cases.
Despite the continuing high rate of infection in some areas, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has predicted that some parts of the north west could be released from lock down this week.
He told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Our cases are flattening – with one exception, Oldham – and we are starting to turn the tide in most of our boroughs. The hope is, maybe we will have a better time ahead of us.’
There were notable jumps in the city of Manchester itself, where infections rose from 34.4 to 46.8, with 259 new cases, and Birmingham which saw a doubling in the infection rate from 18.2 to 31.5, with 360 new cases.
The Director of public health for the city, Dr Justin Varney, told the Birmingham Mail that it was likely the city would feature in the national ‘watch list’ of places most at risk of intervention within days, with no sign of the current rise in cases easing off.
‘We could very easily be in a situation like we have seen in Leicester and Greater Manchester,’ he said.
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