New map predicts virus hotspots that could be plunged into Tier 3 after lockdown

A new map and table reveal the areas of England most at risk of facing Tier 2 or 3 restrictions.

New coronavirus hotspots in England have emerged in the south after months of northern regions battling against the highest infection rates in the country.

Kent and east London are predicted in the map, created by researchers at Imperial College London, to become the worst affected areas for the spread of the virus, writes the Mirror Online.

When the national lockdown is lifted on December 2, Swale in Kent is predicted to have the highest rate of new cases of Covid-19, followed by Boston in Lincolnshire, according to research from Imperial College London.

Medway and Gravesham, also in Kent, and East Lindsey, also in Lincolnshire, round out the top five. They are followed by two more places in Kent – Dartford and Maidstone.

Nuneaton and Bedworth in Warwickshire, North Lincolnshire, and Hartlepool in County Durham complete the top ten of places likely to be hit with the harshest restrictions of the winter plan.

Dover and Canterbury in Kent, Havering, Redbridge and Bexley in London, Basildon in Essex, and Slough in Berkshire are also predicted to have some of the highest infection rates in England next month.

The predictions are based on current rates and a modelling system created by researchers at Imperial College London.

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The maps show where infection rates are likely to be alarmingly high across the UK to create hotspots.

According to the study, nearly 200 local authorities have at least a 90% chance of seeing more than 50 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people each week, from December 5.

The areas with the lowest probability of becoming a hotspot in a fortnight are Dumfries and Galloway, Highland and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, and Conwy and Gwynedd in Wales where their probability is 0%.

Imperial College London created its map, which is updated daily, before the second wave began.

The map uses figures on daily and weekly reported deaths and mathematical modelling to calculate the probability that a local authority will become a hotspot.

The predictions assume no change in current interventions, such as lockdowns or school closures, beyond those already taken about a week before the end of observations.

An increase in cases in a local authority can be due to a rise in testing, which the model does not account for, the researchers said.

It also does not take demographic factors into consideration.

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