The UK's COVID hotspots revealed as daily deaths top 170 for first time since March

 Ambulances in a queue outside the Royal London Hospital.
The UK remains under the lockdown as the government battles to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Ambulances in a queue outside the Royal London Hospital (PA)

The number of COVID infections in the UK continues to increase, with deaths and hospitalisations also creeping up as autumn draws closer and schools prepare to reopen.

The daily toll of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive test toll has hit 174 – topping 170 for the first time since March.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon warned about the “sharp rise” in infections in recent days, with the latest daily figure the largest the country has recorded in a single day.

“New cases in Scotland have more than doubled over the past week, and that is one of the sharpest rises we have experienced at any point during the pandemic,” she said.

There are concerns that the rise in numbers in Scotland could lead to the closure of schools. In England, there have been warnings of protracted disruption if infections spike when school doors reopen.

Watch:Covid cases in Scotland double over past week, Sturgeon says

Where are the infections?

There are currently 24 COVID hotspots in the UK where the seven-day rolling average case rate is higher than 500 infections per 100,000 people.

According to the latest figures in the week up to 19 August, the areas of the UK with the highest rates are in Northern Ireland.

Fermanagh and Omagh currently has the largest UK seven-day rolling average by far, at 1023.5 cases per 100,000 people.

This is followed by Derry City and Strabane, with 890.7 cases per 100,000. A full list of the 24 hotspots can be found below.

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Northern Ireland's case rate remains significantly higher that other UK nations at 598.9, as of 19 August.

England's rate is 326.6, Scotland's rate is 331.7 and Wales' rate is 320.5.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has also seen its case rate soar after an outbreak at a festival.

On Monday, health officials said they were investigating nearly 5,000 cases of coronavirus that are suspected to be linked to the Boardmasters festival, which took place nearly two weeks ago.

The cases have spread across the country, a council official confirmed.

Mayor of Newquay Louis Gardner, who is also the Conservative councillor for Newquay Central & Pentire and owns a deli in the town, said he has been speaking to other businesses this week and they believe the rise in cases is due to a number of different issues.

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“We’re seeing a spike in Cornwall because we’ve got the highest number of visitors we’ve ever had,” he said.

“Our accommodation is at 100% capacity, our hospitality venues are full, there’s no social distance in place, but I think those factors all added in all together are having an effect. It’s a perfect storm.”

He added: “I’d like to see more venues in town insisting on vaccination status, certainly all of the nightclubs, or insisting on negative lateral flow tests. There’s no reason why that can’t be done."

Here are the current top 24 UK COVID hotspots, followed by their seven-day rolling average case rates per 100,000 people:

1. Fermanagh and Omagh, 1023.5

2. Derry City and Strabane, 890.7

3. Sedgemoor, 723.4

4. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, 718.3

5. West Devon, 666.3

6. Torbay, 649.7

7. Teignbridge, 630.2

8. Mansfield, 621.9

9. Exeter, 595.5

10. South Hams, 593.5

11. Belfast, 587.6

12. Kingston upon Hull, 583.9

13. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, 580

14. East Devon, 571.3

15. Mid Ulster, 563.9

16. Mid Devon, 563.1

17. Mid and East Antrim, 557.2

18. West Dunbartonshire, 551.3

19. Dumfries and Galloway, 550.9

20. Torridge, 550.1

21. North Devon, 534.8

22. Causeway Coast and Glens, 531.2

23. Newry, Mourne and Down, 504.8

24. East Renfrewshire, 502.8

Watch: Scottish government plans public inquiry into pandemic handling