Four areas in south Essex now have coronavirus infection rates that are among the highest in the country.

Southchurch and Victoria, in Southend, Hadleigh North, in Castle Point, and Corringham South, in Thurrock, have all been shaded purple on the Government’s coronavirus hotspots.

This means infection rates in those areas have now risen above 400 cases per 100,000 people and are among the highest in the country.

Corringham South has the highest rate of infection in south Essex with 576.9.

It recorded 41 new coronavirus cases in the week ending October 2 – that was four less than the week before.

Victoria recorded 53 new cases in the same period – up by 13. It has an infection rate of 406.9.

The rate is 471.1 in Southchurch which saw cases rise by 33 up to 47.

And in Hadleigh South, cases doubled from 12 to 25. The rate of infection there is 412.3.

It comes as the proportion of young people at secondary school to have had coronavirus has increased to one in 15, new figures show.

But while the number of people testing positive for the virus is estimated to have increased in England it has fallen in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Around one in 70 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to October 2, up from one in 85 the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One in 70 is the equivalent of about 786,300 people.

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

The ONS said rates have increased for those in school Years 7 to 11, people aged 35 to 49 and those aged 70 and over.

The percentage testing positive decreased for those in school Year 12 to age 24, while the trend was uncertain for all other age groups, it added.

Around one in 15 children in school Years 7 to 11 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to October 2 – the highest positivity rate for any age group and up from one in 20 the previous week.

Positivity rates for the over-70s were still low at one in 170, but this is up from one in 190 the previous week.