NEW figures released by the Government show the coronavirus infection rate in Southend and Basildon has dropped by more than half in the last week.

Meanwhile, the rate in Castle Point has stayed steady in the last seven days.

The figures, for the seven days to July 27, are based on tests carried
out in laboratories - pillar one of the Government's testing programme -
and in the wider community - pillar two.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

In Southend, the rate has dropped to 2.7, with five new cases in the last seven days. 

That is down from a rate of 6.0 seven days ago, when 11 new cases had been recorded.

In Basildon, the rate has fallen to 2.7, with five new cases recorded in the last seven days, down from a rate of 7.5 seven days ago, when 14 new cases had been recorded. 

The Castle Point rate remains at 5.6 after five new cases were recorded. 

The figures were released as people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight after a spike in the number of new cases recorded. 

The area with the most new cases is Blackburn with Darwen, where the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.

Leicester is in second place, where the seven-day rate has fallen from
67.8 to 60.2, with 214 new cases.

Other areas reporting notable week-on-week jumps include:

- Oldham (up from 23.3 to 54.3, with 128 new cases)

- Pendle (up from 27.4 to 42.7, with 39 new cases)

- Trafford (up from 15.2 to 41.0, with 97 new cases)

- Calderdale (up from 20.9 to 33.8, with 71 new cases)

- Swindon (up from 9.0 to 28.8, with 64 new cases)

The list is based on Public Health England figures updated on July 30 on
the Government's coronavirus online dashboard.