CORONAVIRUS cases have risen by 20 per cent across south Essex in the past week.

Most areas are now recording similar infections to figures in January during the height of the second wave.

Both Southend and Basildon are still recording more than 1,000 cases a week, with Thurrock close to reaching that number.

Castle Point are recording around 500 cases a week, but have similar infection rates per 100,000 people due to their smaller populations.

Infection rates in all five boroughs and districts are above 500 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest data up to November 26.

These are the 10 south Essex neighbourhoods which recorded the highest number of cases in the past week:

  1. Tilbury - 136
  2. Great Wakering - 105
  3. Chadwell St Mary – 99
  4. West Shoebury – 93
  5. Hockley and Hawkwell West - 92
  6. Eastwood – 90
  7. Laindon West and Southfields - 74
  8. Lee Chapel South and Kingswood - 74
  9. Belfairs – 72
  10. Kursaal - 69

A rise in cases and the discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid has led some experts to call for tighter restrictions and people to limit socialising in the coming weeks, with Christmas parties a particular concern.

No 10 has stressed that it does not want festive events to be cancelled, despite Government departments opting to do so.

Asked why Government departments were cancelling festive celebrations despite Boris Johnson urging people not to, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear on this.

“On Christmas parties, we don’t want people to cancel such events. There is no Government guidance to that end.

“It is right that post-Step 4 (of the road map out of lockdown), we returned to the position where people can use their individual judgment, but there is certainly no Government guidance to that end, and the Prime Minister has been very clear.”