NINE places in the UK are seeing a concerning rise in cases likely driven by the Delta variant, as an epidemic in the young becomes clearer.
The rest of the 25 places on the ZOE Covid Symptom Study watchlist have all seen cases remain high and stable.
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Stirling, Manchester, Rochdale, Bolton, Kirklees, Lancashire, St Helens, Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire are those that saw Covid prevalence rise in the past week.
The Delta variant that originated in India is now dominant in the UK, making up three-quarters of new cases.
It has driven a surge in infections across the UK, coupled with the lifting of restrictions over the past few weeks.
Scientists’ best guess is that the Delta variant is 60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha version which originated in Kent last winter.
The UK is the only nation in Europe seeing a dramatic rise in Covid cases, as Tim Spector OBE, the lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said: “The Covid-19 situation in the UK has rapidly changed from one of the best performing nations to a nation again struggling with rising cases.
“The rapid rise is likely down to two compounding factors; increased social interaction and a newly dominant variant that is much more transmissible.”
“It’s no surprise that people are becoming fatigued with social distancing after a long 15 months of restrictions, which will only encourage the spread.”
The city of Stirling, in central Scotland, has the highest number of people reporting Covid symptoms of all of the UK – nearly 840 per 100,000.
Local media has reported a huge outbreak of 80 cases related to a bar in the city centre in the past fortnight.
Bury and Manchester have the second and third highest level of active Covid cases.
Both areas (in Greater Manchester) are under are under new Covid guidance alongside a handful of other areas covering six million people.
They have been told to “minimise” travel in and out of the areas and avoid socially mixing indoors.