Covid-19 is spreading rapidly across Wirral, causing huge disruption to schools and businesses.

Between September 15 and September 21, 453 cases were recorded at a rate of 140 per 100,000.

That’s a huge increase on the numbers at the start of September, when 115 cases were registered at a rate of 35 per 100,000. At the end of July, Wirral’s rate was below five cases per 100,000.

To combat the worrying spike, the government brought in new restrictions for Merseyside and other parts of the North West on Tuesday. The rules limit household-mixing and force pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm.

National and local health officials will be looking closely at case numbers over the next few days and weeks to decide whether these changes have sufficiently limited the spread of the virus.

If infections keep rising, there is the possibility of tighter rules being brought in.

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In Liverpool, where figures going up to September 22 put the city’s coronavirus infection rate at a huge 197 per 100,000, it is understood that new restrictions could be discussed in the coming days.

For context, Leicester's infection rate was around 140 cases per 100,000 when it was put into a full city-wide lockdown earlier in the summer.

Wirral’s schools have been hit hard by the borough’s spike in coronavirus cases.

Somerville Primary School in Wallasey had to tell all Year 2 pupils to stay at home at the beginning of this week, before having a staff member test positive and a Year 6 class being told not to come into school after that.

Many more Wirral primary schools have had positive cases since their full return at the start of the month, including Lingham Primary School, St John’s Catholic Junior School, Brackenwood Infant School, Bidston Village Primary School and Gayton Primary School.

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Secondary schools have also been hit. Cases have been confirmed at Woodchurch High School, Co-op Academy Bebington, The Mosslands School, St Mary’s Catholic College and Ridgeway High School.

Pubs have also been affected. Last Tuesday, The Hooton Arms in Eastham became the seventh Wirral pub to confirm a coronavirus case after a staff member became infected.