The UK’s strategy to suppress a nationwide resurgence of Covid-19 is to identify at a local level where cases are rising, and to contain these smaller outbreaks with lockdown measures. This “whack-a-mole” approach, as the Prime Minister has described it, looks set to be a feature of life in the UK for the foreseeable future as we await the development and production of a vaccine.
The system of lockdown restrictions in England has been revamped this month, with areas fitting into tiers based on how serious their Covid-19 case rate is as well as an assessment of other key data.
There is, however, no consistent threshold at which these localised restrictions are introduced with arguments between local politicians and central government breaking out in recent weeks. When the government brought this strategy to bear on Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire and Lancashire in July, it did so with only a few hours’ notice. While stricter measures may well be necessary to bring down infection rates, the sudden announcement was said by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to have caused “confusion and distress” as new rules were applied to millions of people.
The information displayed on this page seeks shows people the latest case data for their local authority area and also gives the latest information on whether localised restrictions are in place there.
The data used in this table covers confirmed active cases of Covid-19 where testing was conducted in hospitals (Pillar 1) and in the wider community (Pillar 2). It does not include antibody tests.
There is no official guidance on the threshold of cases required to trigger a local lockdown, and data availability on a local authority level is not what it could be. However, it is possible to see where cases are rising, and to infer from this which areas are at risk of local lockdown.
Areas with high and increasing rates of infection are most likely to face localised restrictions. We can say this based on the infection patterns of other areas, such as Leicester and Luton, where local lockdowns have been implemented.
A rising rate of infection does not guarantee that an area will be placed under lockdown, and areas that have lower levels of infection may face more restrictions. For example, every borough in Greater Manchester is included in the tougher restrictions despite fewer confirmed cases in some areas.
While it is useful to compare the number of confirmed cases on a local level, the data made available by the government does not include the number of tests carried out. This means that an increase in positive cases doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in disease prevalence; it could simply reflect an increase in the number of tests carried out.
As such, these figures shouldn’t be read as a definitive measure of the prevalence of Covid-19 in a given area, but a guide to show which areas are approaching similar confirmed infection numbers to areas that have already been placed in lockdown.
For the latest information about the local lockdowns that are in force visit this page on the Department for Health and Social Care’s website if you are in England, this page if you are in Wales and this page if you are in Scotland.