CORONAVIRUS cases continue to soar across south Essex amid fears of a new Omicron wave.

The latest data shows Southend, Basildon, Castle Point and Rochford all saw at least a 20 per cent rise in infections in the week to March 20.

Experts believe the surge in cases being seen across the UK is being fuelled by the ultra-transmissible Omicron sub-variant (BA.2).

Southend and Basildon each saw more than 1,700 new infections recorded in that period, while there were more than 800 each in Castle Point and Rochford.

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The rise in cases means there are now more than a dozen of neighbourhoods that are recording at least 100 new cases per week in south Essex.

Those areas, according to the latest data, are:



  • Shoebury – 117
  • West Shoebury – 100
  • Southchurch – 111
  • St Lukes – 119
  • Victoria – 114
  • Chalkwell – 119
  • Westborough – 109
  • Prittlewell – 114
  • Leigh - 126
  • West Leigh – 114



  • Hockley and Hawkwell West – 180
  • Rochford Outer and Hawkwell East – 109



  • Billericay Central and Sunnymede – 107
  • Lee Chapel South and Kingswood – 101
  • Langdon Hills – 101

Castle Point


No neighbourhoods in Castle Point are currently recording 100 or more new Covid cases a week. 

The area with the highest number of cases is Benfleet North with 83.

It comes as Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said more details on lateral flow tests will be set out on Friday, when the universal free provision in England will end.

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He did not rule out more testing in schools, as he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show: “We will say a bit more about testing on April 1 of course as to what the policy is.”

He said there are “around 200,000” children off school right now because of coronavirus.

“It has ticked up a little bit because infection rates are high but if we have not broken, we have weakened the link between infection rates and severe infection and hospitalisation because of the vaccination”, he said.