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Alarming new data shows a huge number of infections in the UK in the aftermath of Christmas mixing – but which regions are worst hit?
Figures released this morning by the Zoe Covid Symptom Study found that nearly 70,000 new symptomatic cases are occurring each day.
This is up from 55,000 a week earlier – a 27 per cent rise.
In London, experts now believe one in 42 people have symptomatic Covid-19 – giving it a rate of 2,380 cases per 100,000 people.
This figure is one in 53 in Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea, and one in 72 in Kent & Medway.
Meanwhile, the safest places in the UK are currently, Devon, the Humber, and Somerset & Bath and North East Somerset.
The worrying data comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated one in 50 people in England have the virus – rising to one in 30 in London.
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The ONS figures include people who are not experiencing symptoms.
There was some encouraging news in the capital, however, with today's figures suggesting the infection rate is slowing.
It is estimated that the R number in London is 1.1 – meaning every 10 infected people pass the virus to another 11 in total.
The R number – which measures the speed coronavirus is reproducing – needs to be below one to be in retreat.
It is estimated that the R rate is 1.3 in Scotland, 1.1 in England and 1.0 in Wales
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Redbridge, City of London and Bexley are the worst affected areas in London, while Hammersmith & Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, and Kingston upon Thames have the lowest number of active cases, the app shows.
Lead scientist Tim Spector OBE, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, said: “The UK is now worryingly at 70,000 new daily cases and around 800,000 infected individuals, and the worst hit areas continue to be Wales, London and the South East.
"Our ZOE survey data is the most reliable source of the changing rates of infection over the holiday fortnight.
An estimated 70,000 people contract symptomatic Covid-19 each day, experts believe
(Image: Robin Utrecht/REX/Shutterstock)
Nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London
"1 in 42 people in London has symptomatic COVID now, so those living in the capital must take care.
"The good news is that we are now seeing new cases in London coming down slightly.
"These figures are from the 3rd of January suggesting numbers had started to fall, just before the announcement of the English National lockdown."
It is estimated that 57,157 symptomatic cases occur each day in England, 5,246 in Scotland, 5,770 in Wales and 1,785 in Northern Ireland.
In London, experts believe there are around 16,813 new cases per day.
Nearly every age group has seen a rise in cases
The alarming data reveals symptomatic Covid cases have soared
The South East has an estimated 9,059 cases, the East of England 7,856, and the Midlands 7,403.
There are an estimated 5,950 new cases each day in the North East and Yorkshire, and 5,228 in the North West.
The South West of England has the country's lowest infection rates, with an estimated 3,464 cases a day.
It is now estimated that the UK's R rate – the rate at which the virus is spreading – is 1.2, meaning every 10 infected people infect 12 in total.
In England R is 1.1, in Wales it is 1.0, and in Scotland it is 1.3, experts believe.
The number of new cases is causing alarm in London
Department of Health data shows 400,640 people have tested positive for Covid in seven days, a 33 per cent increase in a week.
Data shows cases are still rising rapidly in the 20-59 year old age groups.
Cases in the over 60s continue to rise slowly – sparking a rise in hospital admissions.
Prof Spector said that if people comply with lockdown rules, infection rates should drop sharply.
He stated: "With millions now staying at home, it’s really important that everyone does their best to stay mentally and physically healthy.
"A third of us actually got healthier during the first UK lockdown, so I encourage people to focus on eating a balanced and varied diet, get outside once a day and check in with each other.
"Together, we will get through this and be ready for when life gets back on track. ”
The ZOE COVID Symptom Study UK Infection Survey figures are based on around one million weekly reporters and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have positive swab tests.
The latest survey figures were based on data from 17,834 recent swab tests done between December 19 and January 3.