Coronavirus researchers have identified 25 'hotspots' on a UK watchlist as a weekly study suggests new daily symptomatic cases have fallen by more than 20 per cent.
Hammersmith and Fulham in west London is at the top of the Zoe Covid Symptom Study's latest list of hotspots, joining nine other boroughs in the capital.
It is followed by Luton in Bedfordshire, Waltham Forest in north-east London, Sheffield in South Yorkshire and Haringey in north London.
The top 10 is rounded out by Belfast, Portsmouth in Hampshire, Islington in north London, Rotherham in South Yorkshire and Hackney, another north-east London borough.
The Zoe study is based on reports from around one million weekly contributors.
It suggests there are currently 46,905 new daily symptomatic cases of the virus in the UK on average, down from 60,271 new cases last week. It is a week-on-week decline of 22 per cent.
Of these there are some 29,620 new daily symptomatic cases among unvaccinated people, 6,534 in partly vaccinated people and 10,751 among the double-jabbed, those behind the study said.
Researchers estimate on average one in 87 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid, and that the UK R value is estimated to be between 0.8-1.
The 'hotspot' table ranks the UK local authorities with the highest estimates of active cases in the most recent seven-day period.
Hammersmith and Fulham had an estimated rate of 3,829 cases per 100,000 people, while Luton's was 3,056 and Waltham Forest's was 2,794.
Zoe Covid Study watchlist
These 25 upper tier local authorities are on the Zoe Covid Study app's watchlist of places with the highest estimates of prevalence rates averaged over the past week.
The number of app users reporting symptoms varies widely.
- Hammersmith and Fulham - 3,829 per 100,000 people
- Luton - 3,056
- Waltham Forest - 2,794
- Sheffield - 2,646
- Haringey - 2,523
- Belfast - 2,329
- Portsmouth - 2,258
- Islington - 2,214
- Rotherham - 2,206
- Hackney - 2,200
- Bury - 2,164
- Bradford - 2,146
- Lambeth - 2,130
- Isle of Wight - 2,036
- Westminster - 2,019
- Leeds - 1,976
- Redcar and Cleveland - 1,946
- Bolton - 1,929
- Thurrock - 1,915
- East Yorkshire - 1,908
- Sutton - 1,864
- Bridgend - 1,835
- Camden - 1,788
- Croydon - 1,782
- Lincolnshire - 1,779
The local watchlist is based on weekly reports from thousands of Zoe Covid Study app users in each area and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have tested positive for Covid.
Dr Claire Steves, lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Study app and Reader at King’s College London, said the break-up of schools for summer is likely to have had an effect on cases and suggested jabs for children could prevent an autumn wave.
She said: “This (fall in new symptomatic cases) is the good news the UK has been waiting for but, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, this pandemic definitely isn’t over yet as cases remain very high.
“Take the example of Scotland, where cases have been falling for weeks. Scotland’s schools broke up for summer much earlier than in England and the holidays provide a much-needed break from the daily mixing of children and parents.
“This could suggest that vaccinating children over 12-years-old this summer could help to prevent another wave and stop the spread of the virus in autumn. We’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens later this year when all schools go back again.”
The vaccination rollout is being extended to people aged 16 and 17, with a decision yet to be taken on younger children.