Four areas in south Essex have seen coronavirus cases more than double in the past week.

The latest data shows Hockley and Hawkwell West in Rochford saw the biggest surge, with 55 new cases confirmed in the week to September 23.

That was up from 17 the week before – a 223 per cent rise.

Rayleigh South West saw the number of new weekly cases jump from 10 to 21.

Rochford currently has the highest infection rate out of the five boroughs and districts in south Essex with 247.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Cases continue to fall in Southend, but Victoria has seen the opposite, with 33 new infections recorded in the past week.

That was up from 18 last week.

The other area in south Essex which has seen Covid cases double in the past week is Orsett, Bulphan and Horndon on the Hill in Thurrock, where cases rose to 16 from eight.

Basildon is recording the highest number of weekly infections right now out of the five boroughs and districts, with 438 positive tests carried out in the seven days to September 23.

It comes as bereaved family members have appealed for more urgency from Boris Johnson after he promised to appoint someone to head a public inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic by Christmas.

The Prime Minister committed to appointing an inquiry chairperson within three months and said families would have an input into who is chosen.

He also lent his support to the National Covid Memorial Wall, suggesting it could become a permanent national memorial.

Mr Johnson hosted a private meeting with representatives from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK on Tuesday afternoon, more than a year after he promised to meet those bereaved by the pandemic.

It is understood Mr Johnson did not apologise for the time it had taken to meet the families.

In a meeting that lasted just over an hour and took place outside at the request of the families, five people shared how their loved ones caught the virus and died.

They said Mr Johnson had told them there was a “clear role for bereaved families in the inquiry”, which will start in the spring.

The Prime Minister is said to have told the group he did not feel that it would be practical to hold a rapid review focusing on key areas sooner than this, amid concerns that it could take health staff away from the front line.

He also said he would engage with families around the need for enhanced bereavement support.

The group said he told them that the wall opposite the Houses of Parliament decorated with thousands of hearts was a “good candidate to be a permanent national memorial. I support it, it’s very moving”.

He later told journalists it had been a “very emotional” meeting.