Coronavirus infection rates have continued to climb across Suffolk and North Essex, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.

Paperg remains the region with the highest infection rate in Suffolk, having overtaken Ipswich, having reported 277.1 cases per 100,000 people for the week through December 20.

The county town of Suffolk, Ipswich, had the second-highest rate in Suffolk at 263.7 cases per 100,000 people in the same period.

West Suffolk’s average was 216.1, while Mid Suffolk was the only area in Suffolk where the infection rise had slowed slightly. The average for the seven days to December 20 was 184.8, compared to 187.7 in the seven days to December 19.

East Suffolk also rose, but remained the lowest in the county at 166.4.

Across the border in North Essex, Braintree had a reported infection rate of 709.0 cases per 100,000 people for the week through December 20.

Colchester’s averaged 346.2 and Tendring’s 309.1 in the same time frame.

Data for the last 4 days were excluded because they are incomplete and do not reflect the true number of cases.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 290 (92%) saw infection rates rise and 25 (8%) saw a decline.

Brentwood has the highest rate in England, with 1,032 new cases recorded in the seven days through 20 December – that’s 1,339.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Thurrock has the second highest rate, rising from 690.0 to 1,328.8, with 2,308 new cases.

The seven-day national infection rate in England is now 331.0 cases per 100,000 people.

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On Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that both counties will be subject to stringent Level 4 measures starting from Boxing Day.

According to official figures published today, NHS employees have vaccinated more than half a million patients against the Coronavirus in less than two weeks.

A total of 521,594 people received the NHS vaccination, with 366,715 of those vaccinated at age 80 or over.

NHS National Medical Director Professor Stephen Boyce said: “The NHS made history when Maggie Kennan became the first person in the world to be vaccinated against Covid, and thanks to the hard work of our illustrious staff, an additional half a million people followed her heels in getting protection from the virus.

“This vaccine presents a number of complex logistical challenges, but the NHS response has been nothing short of exceptional, with hundreds of hospitals and local vaccination centers across the country.

“More centers are opening online now and in the new year as more vaccines deliveries accelerate.”