Region of England with three times COVID rate of London highlights stark divide in infection rates

Matilda Long and Connor Parker
·3 min read
There is a growing divide in COVID infection rates between the South and the rest of England. (PA)

The drop in COVID infection rates is becoming uneven across England as areas of the north remain up to three times as high as the south, the latest figures show.

COVID has been falling heavily in recent weeks across England as the lockdown kept everyone in their homes, but now as the country prepares to lift restrictions it's becoming clear some areas are experiencing slower declines than others.

The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) show Yorkshire and the Humber is now the only area of England with an infection rate higher than 100 per 100,000 of its population and is the highest in the country.

The interactive map below shows the COVID infection rate in each region of England

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Their infection rate of 110.4 per 100,000 is over three times higher than London's which has 34.9 and more than four times the South West's which has the lowest at 28.4.

The falling infection rates show a stark divide between the south compared to the midlands and north, with no area of the south having more than 45 cases per 100,000 and the rest of the country not having anywhere with fewer than 65 cases per 100,000.

The regional breakdown of cases per 100,00 are:

  • East Midlands - 76.8

  • East of England - 43.8

  • London - 34.9

  • North East - 72.3

  • North West - 69.4

  • South East - 34.2

  • South West - 28.4

  • West Midlands - 65.4

  • Yorkshire and Humber - 110.4

The report from PHE reveals case rates have remained fairly stable in the past few weeks, but there have been rises in the youngest in society.

They attribute the rise in cases among 5-9 and 10-19 year olds to pupils returning to school.

According to the government cases in the past seven days are down 2% compared to the previous seven days.

On Thursday there was a further 6,397 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the UK, 5,286 of these were in England.

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Deaths and hospital admissions have been falling at a much faster rate, with deaths down 31.4% in the previous seven days and admissions down 19.8%.

England is set to end the stay-at-home order that has been in place since the start of lockdown in January by the end of March.

This will also include bringing back the rule of six allowing people to gather in outdoor public spaces for the first time in months.

The next step of lockdown lifting will come two weeks later on 12 April when all shops, hairdressers and gyms will be allowed to reopen.

MPs voted to extend coronavirus laws on Thursday. (PA)
MPs voted to extend coronavirus laws on Thursday. (PA)

On 12 April pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve customers outside.

On Thursday MPs voted to extend the special coronavirus laws by a further six months.

Some 76 MPs voted to oppose the extension of the laws, although the measure passed with a majority of 408.

Most of those who voted against the legislation were from the Tory backbenches.

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne warned that the renewal of emergency coronavirus powers could lead to “total social control” and criticised the “oppressive legislation”.

Sir Graham Bracy, chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, said: “The danger is the Government starts to believe that these fundamental civil liberties belong to ministers to grant to us or withhold.”

Matt Hancock admitted today he could not guarantee the six-month extension to the Act would be the last time MPs were asked to approve the continuation of the powers introduced when the pandemic hit.