One area in south Essex is virtually recording no coronavirus cases despite infection rates soaring across the region.

Hadleigh North is no longer highlighted on the Government’s coronavirus hotspots map after it recorded fewer than three cases in the week ending September 4.

It comes despite the borough of Castle Point seeing nearly 200 Covid cases in the same period.

Both Southend and Thurrock recorded more than 500 new infections in the latest week, while Basildon was just below that figure.

Laindon East & Lee Chapel North has the highest localised infection rate in Basildon, with 401 cases per 100,000 people.

Southchurch has the highest infection rate in Southend with 386.8, while in Thurrock, Orsett, Bulphan & Hordon-on-the-Hill is the worst with 484.2.

Rising infection rates in south Essex come as Southend, Basildon and Broomfield recorded the highest number of Covid patients in six months earlier this week.

There are currently 93 people being treated for coronavirus across the three hospitals, but only eight are on a ventilator.

Around one in 70 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to September 3, unchanged from the previous two weeks, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

One in 70 is the equivalent of about 754,600 people.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus.

Downing Street has meanwhile said today it agreed that the UK needed to provide protection from coronavirus both at home and abroad after those who designed the Oxford AstraZeneca jab said donating vaccines to countries where people are still awaiting a first dose should be prioritised over a wholesale domestic booster programme.

Asked about the comments made by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, and since backed up by Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “I think Sarah Gilbert also recognised that elderly people should receive boosters but, as we have said before, the JCVI are looking at this as the independent body and they will submit their evidence when they have finished examining the rationale for it.

“I would point you to interim advice which they published earlier this year that talked about the need to ensure we provide some protection to those who are immuno-compromised and those who we need to keep safe over the winter.

“It is for the JCVI to come forward with advice – they are the experts in this field.”

The spokesman added: “I agree with the principle we should provide protection both here in the UK and also to those overseas.

“We are already providing nine million doses to developing countries. You will remember that the Prime Minister committed us to providing 100 million in total, 30 million of those will be before the end of year, so I would say we are doing both – we have demonstrated our commitment to providing protection to those overseas and we’ll continue to provide protection to the British public as well.”