Both infection rates and hospitalisations due to Covid have fallen again in Essex – but residents have been warned not to “assume the pandemic is over”.

The latest weekly figures released by Essex County Council show the average rate of infection now stands at 112.7 cases per 100,000.

There were 1,679 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Essex in the week ending February 11.

It means the county’s infection rate is the lowest it has been since November 5 when the second national lockdown began.

The number of people being treated for coronavirus in Essex hospitals has meanwhile halved in less than a month.

There were 1,183 Covid patients as of January 27 but figures up to February 16 show it now stands at 579.

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Despite the improving picture in Essex, County Hall’s health boss John Spence insists infection rates remain a concern.

He said: “A continued decline in case rates is of course welcome news, but the rates for Essex are still high. The worst thing we could do now is assume the pandemic is over and undermine all of the hard work it’s taken to get us to this point.

“We recognise the impact that the pandemic has affected people in lots of different ways and that people are eager to get back to some kind of normality. The quickest way we will get there is by continuing to follow the guidance.

“I would also urge individuals who are not showing Covid-19 symptoms – especially those who are unable to work from home - to book a rapid test as soon as possible to prevent anyone from unknowingly spreading the virus. This is now easier than ever thanks to a new walk-in option for appointments at our rapid test centres.”

Tendring has the highest rate of infection in Essex (182.8), while has the lowest with 81.8.