The 25 places on Covid watchlist revealed – as lockdown easing provokes the virus

THERE are 25 places on a Covid watchlist because they have the most active cases right now.

The Delta variant is now the cause of around 99 per cent of infections and driving the third wave in the UK.

North East Lincolnshire is number one on the watchlist created by the ZOE Covid Symptom Study, with the most active cases as of July 18 (3,324 in every 100,000 people).

Prevalence is second highest in Stockton-on-Tees, with 2,691 cases in every 100,000, and third highest in Falkirk (2,434).

The most hotspots are in London, making up eight of the 25 spots on the list.

Last week Scotland took the top spot, with 13 places. But this has gone down to two.

This week, there are five in the Yorkshire and the Humber, four in the North West, three in the North East, two in the East and Scotland and one in the West Midlands.

Eight places have seen Covid prevalence figures worsen in the past seven days; Stockton-on-Tees, Hackney, Barnsley, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Bedford and Bradford. 

But the rest have either seen case numbers come down or stay stable.

Meanwhile, the ZOE app, which tracks the Covid outbreak by relying on app users, has U-turned on it’s claim last week that the third wave had already peaked.

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Using new methodology, its estimations of a growing outbreak now fit with other statistics. 

On a daily basis, there are a predicted 60,019 new symptomatic cases of the virus, across people who both have and have not received their coronavirus vaccine.

This is up 27.1 per cent from last week when 47,189 new infections were reported.

Tim Spector, professor at King’s College London and lead scientist on the ZOE study, said Covid is “definitely not going away any time soon”.

“Unfortunately, hopes that the current wave of infections had peaked have faded, as ZOE’s updated data shows new Covid cases continuing to rise as the UK lifts most restrictions,” he said.

“We mustn’t forget the lessons of the pandemic in our rush to return to ‘normal life’, as this will only prolong Covid’s grip on our lives.”

What does Government data show?

Ministers are expecting Covid cases to continue soaring for several weeks at least.

It’s expected diagnosed infections will soon reach 100,000 per day, currently at around 42,000.

Data for England shows that 98 per cent of local authorities have increasing case rates.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 310 (98 per cent) have seen a week-on-week rise in rates, PA analysis of Public Health England data shows.

Redcar & Cleveland continues to have the highest rate, with the equivalent of 1,577 cases per 100,000 people. This is up from 831.2 in the seven days to July 10.

Middlesbrough has the second highest rate, up from 905.8 to 1,394.5, and Stockton-on-Tees has the third highest rate, up from 677.0 to 1,198.4.

According to PHE, case numbers are highest in those in their 20s, with 1,155 cases per 100,000 population – up from 768 the week before.

The figure is 995 in 10-19 year olds and 726 in people in their 30s.

The North East is suffering the highest infection rate by region – at 952 per 100,000 – followed by Yorkshire and the Humber at 624. 

But it was the South West that had the largest hike in case rates from one week to the next, going from 363 to 534 per 100,000.

Hospitalisations are also up, to 5.9 per 100,000 – up from 2.7 two weeks ago. However, any rise in hospital admissions would always lag behind cases.

The North East is recording the most admissions, with a rate of 13.2 per 100,000 – the highest since records in February.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the Government, said this week that 40 per cent of hospitalisations were in people who were full vaccinated.

But this does not mean the jabs do not work – nor does the fact around half of cases are in people with at least one dose, according to ZOE data.

As more and more of the population is vaccinated, the relative proportion of those with COVID who have had both jabs will rise.

And sadly, because the jabs are not 100 per cent effective, people will still end up in hospital, particularly if they are vulnerable.


The latest data from PHE suggests that against the dominant Delta variant, two doses of any of any of the jabs in the UK are estimated to offer 79 per cent protection against symptomatic disease and 96 per cent protection against hospitalisation.

Around nine in 10 adults in the UK now have Covid antibodies, giving them a level of protection against coronavirus.

The estimates range from 88.6 per cent in Scotland to 92.6 per cent in Wales, with 90 per cent for Northern Ireland and 91.9 per cent for England.

The latest estimates are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and are based on a sample of blood test results for the week beginning June 28.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, said the findings were an “important contribution to the current debate about the optimal time to lift lockdown”.

He said: ““Although not all adults have had vaccine, many others, especially in younger age groups, will still have some degree of protection from a prior infection.

“Taking all this together my view is that this supports the government’s decision to open up society now at the start of the summer holidays and delaying this would likely lead to a more dangerous autumn/winter peak due to waning vaccine induced immunity prior to an expected booster campaign in the autumn.”

It comes as the Government have urged people to still be cautious of coronavirus – even though all legal restrictions were lifted on England on July 19.

People in England are being told to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places, and use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to venues.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

A video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The campaign will warn that being doubled jabbed does not entirely protect you from being infected with coronavirus, or from being told to self-isolate.

World faces going ‘back to square one’ Covid spread spawns variants deadlier than Delta, WHO warns


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