How do coronavirus infection rates compare between Suffolk and Essex?

There are fewer people out in the second lockdown - but it is not shopping that is thought to be dri

Infection rates in Essex and Suffolk remain significantly different from one another - Credit: Charlotte Bond

There remains a stark difference between coronavirus infection rates in Suffolk and Essex, Public Health England data has shown.

The comparisons come after health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock announced the majority of Essex will be placed under Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions - two days before the planned update on local measures.

MORE: South and west Essex to enter Tier 3 restrictions

Both counties saw a rise in seven-day infection rates across the board according to the latest statistics, which cover the week ending December 10.

There is, however, a significant difference in case rates between the two counties, with all but one part of Suffolk recording a lower seven-day rate than their Essex counterparts.

For example, the area of Essex going into Tier 3 with the lowest rate is Maldon, which has a rate of 186.4 cases per 100,000.

The only area of Suffolk with a higher rate than that is Ipswich, which recorded a rate of 199.4 per 100,000 after 273 new cases of the virus were identified.

All other local authority areas in Suffolk remain significantly lower than the areas of Essex going into tougher restrictions. Most notably is Mid Suffolk, which recorded a seven-day infection rate of 61.6 cases per 100,000.

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To put that into perspective, Colchester has the lowest infection rate in the whole of Essex at 100.7 per 100,000 – meaning it is staying under Tier 2 restrictions.

The area with the highest rate however, Basildon, now has the second highest rate of infection in the country at 643.2 per 100,000.

There is, however, concern over the rising rate in Ipswich - which if it was part of Essex, with a rate higher than Maldon, would likely have been placed under Tier 3 restrictions.

Mr Hancock said a rise in cases could be due to a newly-discovered variant of the virus, which has mostly been found in the south and south-east of the country.

"This rise in transmission, as well as this new variant of Covid should be a warning to us all that even after such a difficult year, we must stay vigilant," he said.

"This moment is a salutary warning for the whole country. This isn't over yet."

Mr Hancock added: "I say to people across the south-east and east of England, who haven't gone into Tier 3 today – that we all still need to work together, be vigilant and to effectively do everything we can to stop the spread of the disease,"