Several areas in Southend and Basildon have been removed from the Covid hotspots map for the first time in nearly four months.

Infection rates continue to fall in south Essex, with all districts and boroughs now below 100 infections per 100,000 people.

Castle Point (55.3) and Southend (59.5) have the lowest rates, while Thurrock has the highest (98)

And the increasingly promising numbers also show there are several areas which are virtually Covid free. 

They have been removed from the coronavirus hotspots map for recording fewer than three cases in the week ending February 25. 

The areas in south Essex are:

  • Prittlewell
  • Blenheim Park
  • Thundersley Glen
  • South Benfleet
  • Felmore and Bowers Gifford
  • Bursteads
  • Stanford East
  • Orsett, Bulphan and Horndon-on-the-Hill


Despite the improving picture, other areas such as Kursaal and Canvey Island North West have seen a rise in Covid cases in recent days. 

It backs up Health Secretary, Matt Hancock's, plea to Britons not to break coronavirus rules and “blow” progress being made.

The vaccine programme in the UK is thought to be helping surpress infection rates already, as well as save lives. 

A study by Public Health England has indicated the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing infections among older people.

Mr Hancock has said the number of admissions to hospital was falling faster than that of cases – particularly among the older age groups who were vaccinated first.


“This is a sign that the vaccine is working,” he said.

He told a Downing Street press conference that people must “keep sticking to the rules, let’s not blow it now” – but said the new data shows “in the real world, across the UK right now that the vaccine is helping both to protect the NHS and to save lives”.

“A single shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or of the Pfizer vaccine works against severe infection among the over-70s with a more than 80% reduction in hospitalisations”, Mr Hancock said.

“In fact, the detailed data show that the protection that you get from catching Covid 35 days after a first jab is even slightly better for the Oxford jab than for Pfizer, albeit both results are clearly very strong.”

The results “may also help to explain why the number of Covid admissions to intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK have dropped to single figures in the last couple of weeks”.