Coronavirus cases in Southend have more than doubled in the past week.

A rise in the number of cases mirrors many other parts of the UK which are now seeing an increase in positive tests.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly set to delay the ending of lockdown by up to four weeks.

It had been due to take place on June 21 but could now be pushed back to July 19.

A final decision will be made and announced by the Prime Minister tomorrow.

In the Southend borough, the number of new cases recorded in the week ending June 7 was 56 – more than double the 25 recorded seven days before on May 31.

Several neighbourhoods in Southend are now being highlighted on the hotspots map, having had almost no cases recorded a week ago.

The areas now appearing on the map and number of new cases recorded in the past week are:

Blenheim Park – 9

Southend Central – 8

Chalkwell – 7

West Leigh – 5

Kursaal – 5

Belfairs – 4

Westborough – 3

Victoria – 3

Thorpe Bay – 3

St Lukes – 3

Despite the rise in cases, the infection rate in the borough remains low and is below the national average of 61 cases per 100,000 people.

With cases now rising in most areas of the UK, Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Nervtag group which advises ministers on new respiratory diseases, said it was clear the country was facing a “substantial” third wave of the disease.

He said the key issue was the extent to which that led to more people becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment.

“We still don’t know how bad it could be,” he told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

He said it was “extremely worrying” that the Delta variant – which now accounts for 96% of new infections – was proving to be 60% more transmissible than the previously dominant Alpha strain first identified in Kent.

“That is the thing that will drive the speed with which the next wave comes along,” he said.

“I think if we were to open up more that would really fan the flames and lead to this increasing even faster.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said ministers and officials were monitoring the data in “real time” to determine when it would be safe to open up.

He said they were in a “race” to get the second dose of the vaccine – which has been shown to provide significantly greater protection against the Delta variant than a single jab – to as many people as possible.