Two UK towns surge up coronavirus hotspot table as number of reported cases rise

Two UK towns have reported dozens of new coronavirus cases this week – meaning they've both risen in the Covid-19 hotspot table.

Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, now has the second highest rate of coronavirus infection in the country.

It has risen up the table along with third placed Oldham, Greater Manchester, which has 1,053 cases per 100,000 people.

Blackburn with Darwen has a slightly higher rate at 1,072 per 100,000 than Oldham, but is still below Leicester, where 150 people out of every 10,000 have tested positive for the bug.

The figures are released daily by the Department of Health.

While data was not published on Tuesday, a comparison of today and Monday's releases shows cases mounting at a steady rate in the worst hit towns.

Over the past two days there were 99 more cases recorded in Leicester, where 5,329 people have now caught the bug and been tested.

A further 111 people tested positive in Oldham, bringing the total there to 2,498, while Blackburn's total rose 47 to 1,606.

Ashford, which is fourth in the rankings, recorded only one further case since Monday, bringing its toll to 1,362, while Bradford's case toll has risen 103 to 5,543.

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Although the rises may appear small relative to the size of the UK population, they represent significant leaps in areas with low populations.

They also show that not all efforts to contain the virus in the worst hit towns and cities are working yet.

Yesterday the UK recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases in seven weeks.

In total 1,148 new infections and a further 102 deaths were recorded across the country.

Today that number went up by 1,007.

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Data released by Public Health England shows that among people aged 15 to 44 in England, the rate of infection has increased by 35% since July 5.

That is a day after "Super Saturday" when bars, restaurants and cinemas reopened.

Todays Brits were warned the country faces a "long road ahead" to recovery after suffering the biggest hit so far from the pandemic of the major global economies, experts have warned.

June's 8.7% bounce-back in gross domestic product (GDP) means the economy is set to emerge from its record-breaking recession in the third quarter, but the sheer size of the contraction means it has further to crawl back.

Business groups and economists also cautioned the path of the recovery may not be smooth given the threat of a second wave and possible further lockdowns – a jobs crisis also on the horizon as Government support measures come to an end.

Melissa Davies, chief economist at Redburn, said: "There is a long road ahead for the UK economy to claw back its pandemic losses, all the while facing deflationary headwinds from large amounts of spare capacity and job losses.

"As the furlough scheme rolls off, more stimulus will be needed to support household incomes, not least if infection numbers rise in the autumn."

James Smith, ING developed markets economist, said: "Rising unemployment is probably the biggest threat to the recovery at the moment, and this is being linked to the gradual unwinding of the Government's furlough scheme over the next few months.

"Many firms, particularly in the hardest-hit hospitality/recreation sectors are still struggling as a result of ongoing consumer caution and social distancing constraints."

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