CORONAVIRUS will continue moving down the north east coast in the coming weeks, with outbreaks growing in the Midlands and London, experts say.
Researchers from Imperial College London say future hotspots will include Hartlepool and Scarborough, with both places fighting surging cases by early October.
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After that, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Hambleton and Middlesbrough will face a spike in infections, the experts believe.
None of the seven authorities have yet been hit by tougher restrictions.
However, officials classify them as ‘areas of concern’.
It comes as:
Last week, health chiefs put more than two million people in the north east under local lockdown rules.
Residents are banned from socialising indoors or in gardens with anyone from outside their own households or support bubbles.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in all the affected areas — Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham — must now shut between 10pm and 5am, effectively putting a curfew on the region.
And tonight, it was revealed that the Prime Minister plans to extend that 10pm curfew to every pub in England.
It comes amid warnings that cases of coronavirus are rising across the country, and are no longer confined to local outbreaks.
Addressing the nation this morning, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty revealed new maps which show the transmission of the virus across England.
He referenced two maps that revealed the spread of the virus in England and said the result was similar for the rest of the UK.
He said: “Now what we are seeing is a rated increase across the great majority of the country, it’s going at different rates but it is now increasing.
“What we have found is that as we go through in time, anywhere which was falling is now moving over to beginning to rise and the rate of rise continues in an upward direction.
“This is not someone else’s problem, this is all of our problem.”
He added that as winter approaches the “seasons are against us”.
Prof Whitty added that there was “no evidence” that suggests that the virus is a milder strain now than than seen at the peak of the pandemic in April.
Mortality rates from Covid-19 are “significantly greater” than seasonal flu, which killed around 7,000 annually or 20,000 ‘in a bad year’, the expert added.
And Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s top scientist, also warned Britain could face 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by the middle of October without new lockdown measures.
He added: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.
“If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.
“50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than in areas of England where local lockdowns apply, new data reveals.
Public Health England’s most recent watchlist shows the authority in England with the lowest case rate considered an ‘area of intervention’ – the highest degree of concern – is Ribble Valley.
The Lancashire borough has 18.3 cases per 100,000 people.
But Kensington and Chelsea, Enfield and Southwark, among others, have infection rates higher than that.
Currently, the three worst-hit areas in London are Redbridge – with 34.2 cases per 100,000 people, Hounslow with 32.5 cases and Dagenham with 29.3 cases.