The 5 places in the UK where Covid is spreading fastest

Coronavirus cases are growing in a quarter of areas in the UK, new data show.

In the seven days to Saturday (18 September), the latest date for which figures are available, week-on-week case rates per 100,000 people increased in 90 (24%) of the nation's 377 local authority areas.

They are...

  1. Rhondda Cynon Taf (up from 544.9 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 11 September, to 731.8 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 18 September)

  2. Neath Port Talbot (705.7 to 867.1)

  3. Kettering (416.8 to 576.3)

  4. Flintshire (391.5 to 543.2)

  5. Stafford (313.4 to 452.6)

 

Across the UK, the government's latest data suggest cases and deaths are stabilising, with a 0.4% week-on-week fall in cases and just a 0.1% rise in deaths.

However, those numbers remain significant: 221,442 cases and 974 deaths reported in a week. A winter surge is also widely expected.

It comes as a leading expert said Covid-19 will eventually resemble a common cold.

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Dame Sarah Gilbert, who helped develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, said on Wednesday: “We tend to see slow genetic drift of the virus and there will be gradual immunity developing in the population as there is to all the other seasonal coronaviruses.”

Seasonal coronaviruses cause colds, and Dame Sarah said: “Eventually Sars-CoV-2 will become one of those.”

Watch: How the world could be better after Covid