CORONAVIRUS infection rates across south Essex have dropped by more than 20 per cent in the past week.

It raises hopes the region may have passed the peak of the latest wave of cases, caused by the Omicron variant.

Southend, Castle Point and Rochford are no longer considered blackspots after seeing a big drop in cases in the seven days to January 7.

Basildon and Thurrock are still highlighted black on the Government’s hotspots map, but have also seen a significant fall in cases.

Blackspots are areas where infection rates are above 1,600 cases per 100,000 people.

Here’s the latest data for each district in borough for the week ending January 7.


3,031 new cases – down 900 (23%) from the week before

Infection rate: 1,616 per 100,000 people

Castle Point

1,381 new cases – down 422 (23%) from the week before

Infection rate: 1,525 per 100,000 people


1,330 new cases – down 537 (29%) from the week before

Infection rate: 1,517 per 100,000 people


2,676 new cases – down 875 (25%) from the week before

Infection rate: 1,464 per 100,000 people


3,084 new cases – down 817 (21%) from the week before

Infection rate: 1,757 per 100,000 people

It comes as the amount of time people with Covid-19 in England have to spend in self-isolation is to be cut to five full days, the Health Secretary has said.

Sajid Javid told MPs in the House of Commons that UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showed “that around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five”.

He added: “After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

“From Monday, people can test twice before they go – leaving isolation at the start of day six.

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“These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans, and I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we have built up in tests so we can restore the freedoms to this country while we’re keeping everyone safe.”

Under the move, people will be able to take tests on day five and six.

Mr Javid told MPs Covid is “still with us and there are still likely to be difficult weeks ahead”, but pointed to encouraging signs that infections are falling in London and the East of England, although they are rising in other parts of the country.