These are the latest Covid case rates across England - and hospital numbers by region
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that tougher lockdown measures will be announced for England “in due course”, amid concerns the new variant of coronavirus is spreading out of control.
Mr Johnson said there was “no question” restrictions need to be tightened, with suggestions another national lockdown could be imminent in an effort to curb the spread.
Rising Covid case rates across England
The PM warned of “tough, tough” weeks to come as Covid-19 case rates continue to rise across all parts of England, along with the number of hospital admissions.
The latest data shows a 33 per cent rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas Day (25 Dec) and 2 January, prompting calls for national restrictions to be reimposed.
Here’s how Covid cases compare across the regions of England, along with the number of patients currently in hospital with the virus.
London has the highest regional rate of new Covid-19 cases in England, with the rate in the seven days up to 30 December at 934.3 cases per 100,000 people. This is up from 844.3 in the previous week, and 531.5 from just two weeks ago.
Of the top 25 highest local rates in England, 11 are in London, including Barking and Dagenham which has the highest rate overall at 1,402.5 cases per 100,000 people.
Hospitals in London also have a record number of patients with Covid11-19, with a total of 6,358 patients as of 8am on 3 January - more than double the number two weeks ago.
Eastern England has the second highest regional rate of new Covid-19 cases at 683.7 per 100,000 people.
Six of the top 10 highest local rates in England are in this region, including Thurrock with a rate of 1,388.7, Epping Forest with a rate of 1,302.3 and Broxbourne with a rate of 1,292.2.
More patients with Covid-19 are in hospitals in eastern England than at any point since the pandemic began, with the number standing at 3,395 as of 8am on 3 January - a rise of 74 per cent in just two weeks.
South East England
Similar to London and eastern England, the south east has seen a sharp rise in case rates and a record number of patients in hospital.
The seven day rate currently stands at 609.2 cases per 100,000 people, up from 504.9 a week ago, and Dartford has the highest rate in the region at 1,143.8, followed by Gravesham at 1,094.1 and Rushmoor at 1,088.8.
A total of 4,501 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital as of 8am on 3 January, a rise of 27 per cent since last week and an increase of 76 per cent in two weeks.
Regional case rates are lower in all regions outside the south and east of England, but numbers have started to climb in recent weeks.
The rate in the West Midlands is currently 389.9, up from 278.3 a week ago, and Wolverhampton has the highest rate in the region at 626.1.
The overall number of patients with Covid-19 across the Midlands was 4,065 as of 8am on 3 January, marking a record high for the region and a jump of 16 per cent from a week ago.
The rate for the East Midlands currently stands at 325.0 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to 30 December, up from 265.8 in the previous week and 214.7 two weeks previously.
Northampton currently has the highest rate in the region at 559.2, followed by South Northamptonshire at 486.8 and Ashfield at 440.1, while a record number of patients with Covid-19 are in hospital across the Midlands.
South West England
South west England has the second lowest rate of any region at 269.9 cases per 100,000 people.
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole has the highest local rate in the region at 434.3, followed by Swindon at 432.1 and Gloucester at 418.2.
There were 1,323 patients in hospital with Covid-19 in south west England as of 8am on 3 January, marking a rise of 20 per cent in a week.
North West England
The rate of new cases in north west England has jumped sharply from 223.1 in the week to 23 December to 351.8 for the week to 30 December.
Carlisle currently has the highest local rate in the region at 765.6, followed by Burnley at 670.3 and Eden at 585.9.
The number of hospital patients across the region is below the peak level seen in mid-November, but is up 11 per cent from 2,226 on 27 December to 2,605 on 3 January.
North East England
The rate in the north east is also increasing, rising from 222.9 to 340.5.
Hartlepool has the highest local rate at 659.8, followed by South Tyneside at 409.3 and Sunderland at 400.8.
Hospital data for north east England is combined with the neighbouring region of Yorkshire and the Humber. Across the whole area, Covid-19 patient numbers stood at 2,710 on 3 January which is below the peak of 3,473 in mid-November, but up 11 per cent week-on- week.
Yorkshire and the Humber
The rate in Yorkshire and the Humber is the lowest for any region in England at 244.3 cases per 100,000 people.
It is the only region entirely in Tier 3, but case rates have increased sharply in some areas.
In York the rate is up week-on-week from 218.9 to 428.3 - the highest in the region - while Richmondshire is up from 178.7 to 372.2, followed by Hambleton, up from 241.3 to 359.2.
Hospital data is combined with north east England and shows overall patient levels are still below the peak in mid-November.