THESE are the 25 places with the most Covid cases – and on experts watchlist.
The Delta variant is now the cause of around 99 per cent of infections and causing outbreaks across the UK.
Dundee city is number one on the watchlist created by the ZOE Covid Symptom Study, with the most active cases as of July 10 (3,031 in every 100,000 people).
Prevalence is second highest in Stoke-on-Trent, with 2,198 cases in every 100,000, and third highest in East Dunbartonshire (2,151).
The most hotspots are in Scotland, making up 13 of the 25 spots on the list.
There are three each in Northern Ireland, and in the North East and North West of England, two in London and one each in West Midlands and Yorkshire.
Six places have seen Covid prevalence figures worsen in the past seven days; Stoke-on-Trent, South Tyneside, West Lothian, County Durham, Manchester and Islington.
But the rest have either seen case numbers come down or stay stable.
Meanwhile, the ZOE app has found the first signs that Covid cases are stabilising ahead of “Freedom Day” on July 19.
It estimates around 33,118 people are catching the virus each day, which remains similar to last week's guess of 33,723.
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There are around 17,581 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in unvaccinated people – a decrease of 22 per cent from last week.
This suggests that the wave in the unvaccinated population has now peaked in the UK as more people get jabs.
But experts say the rate at which case numbers come down will be slower, because people will soon be mixing even more as restrictions lfit.
Tim Spector OBE, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, said: “We are seeing the overall incidence rates plateau in the UK with an R value of 1.0, which is good news.
“The numbers are still high with around one in 142 people with Covid, so we’ll keep a close eye on numbers and the effect of the Euro Football Championship in the coming days and weeks.”
What does Government data show?
Experts have said ZOE's data, based on positive swab tests input by the public, may not be reliable anymore.
Although the research team said the third wave had peaked, Government data shows otherwise.
The dashboard shows that diagnosed Covid cases are continuing to rise amid the third wave.
A further 42,302 infections were reported on Wednesday – the highest daily reported rise since January 15 when the UK was in the midst of the second wave.
Prof James Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and University of Oxford, said: “It is extremely unlikely that this is all the result of Sunday [lag in reporting].
"More likely we have a significant and continuing increase in the number of cases; the third wave.
“It would suggest that ZOE is not providing a reliable guide to this wave since it had noted a peak of 33,000 cases.
"Of course, no measure is perfect and ZOE has proven informative in the past, it may be changes in symptoms and/or behaviour are confounding it."
Per day around 31,400 new cases are being reported, similar to mid-December when the Alpha (Kent) variant had taken off and Christmas was cancelled.
But despite a similar wave in infections, hospitalisations and deaths have not grown at an alarming rate, thanks to vaccines.
It’s for this reason the UK is coming out of restrictions, albeit against some scientists’ wishes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that all remaining legal restrictions will be lifted in England from July 19, including the mandatory wearing of masks in indoor settings.
Full steam ahead
From next Monday, all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be scrapped and all businesses will reopen, including nightclubs – for the first time since March 2020.
Rules on 10-day self-isolation periods in England are being eased for the fully vaccinated and under-18s, but not until August 16.
It comes despite more people getting told to self isolate than ever before.
More than half a million alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the week to July 7, telling them they had been a close contact of a Covid case.
This is up 46 per cent on the previous week and is the highest seven-day total since data was first published in January.
The latest data suggests the Test and Trace system is facing pressures similar to those seen during the second wave of the virus last winter.
But according to Mr Johnson, it is “highly probable” that the worst of the pandemic is over – provided people are careful from July 19.
In Scotland, where Covid rates are highest, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the country is set to move to Level 0 of the five-tier system on Monday.
But restrictions will continue on physical distancing and numbers meeting both indoors and outdoors.
Almost all coronavirus restrictions in Wales will be lifted on August 7, except the wearing of face masks will remain compulsory on public transport and in most indoor settings.
Ahead of that date, from July 17 some rules will be eased as the country moves into alert Level 1.
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