Alarming map shows areas of England with fastest-growing rates of coronavirus

The areas of England with the fastest-growing rates of coronavirus have been revealed.

However top Government scientist Chris Whitty warned that Covid-19 is no longer confined to individual local outbreaks and that nationwide measures will be necessary.

The Chief Medical Officer addressed the nation in a press conference with Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance on Monday morning.

Professor Whitty unveiled two maps of England showing the transmission of the virus across the country.

One map, using a purple colour scheme, illustrated the rate of transmission (R) in different areas.

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The second map shows areas marked in orange, yellow or brown to represent their respective R increases. The darker the colour, the greater the increase.

Greens and blues were used for regions with either a stable or decreasing R rate.

The darkest areas, indicating the fastest growth of the R rate, are located in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Birmingham and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Urgent new restrictions have been placed on areas of concern in England.

From Tuesday, those living in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston will all be subjected to new social distancing measures.

The rules are also being extended to cover all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

Lancashire county council area will also face a local lockdown, with the exception of Blackpool.

Last week new lockdown restrictions were introduced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire to "curb rising infection rates".

From Tuesday, everybody living in 17 different council areas was banned from socialising outside of their own household or bubble. There is now also a 10pm curfew on nightlife, and hospitality venues are restricted to table service only.

The North East of England has also seen new social distancing rules come into effect, with Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and the County Durham council area all affected.

There are now almost 15 million Brits living under some form of lockdown.

During Monday's briefing, Prof Whitty said it's now clear that localised lockdowns aren't effectively containing the virus, and that it poses a threat to the entire country.

"What we've seen is a progression where, after the remarkable efforts which got the rates right down across the country, first we saw very small outbreaks, maybe associated with a workplace or another environment, then we've seen more localised outbreaks which have got larger over time, particularity in the cities," he explained.

"Now what we're seeing is a rate of increase across the great majority of the country. It is going at different rates but it is now increasing.

"What we've found is, as we go through in time, anywhere that was falling is now moving over to beginning to rise and then the rate of rise continues in an upwards direction. So, this is not someone else's problem, this is all of our problem."

Meanwhile, the Joint Biosecurity Centre has now recommended the Covid-19 alert level for the UK be increased to Level 4, meaning transmission of the virus is "high or rising exponentially".

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