CORONAVIRUS cases in Worcestershire are still rising with three districts recording an infection rate of over 500.

In the seven days up to January 3, Worcester recorded the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the county at 593.7 per 100,000 people - more than double the rate of 208.5 recorded a week earlier.

The second highest infection rate was recorded in Bromsgrove - 565.7 - compared to a rate of 341.4 in the week up to December 27.

According to the latest figures from Public Health England, Redditch recorded a infection rate of 541.9. Seven days earlier, the borough's infection rate was 227.5.

Wyre Forest's latest infection rate stood at 445.3 per 100,000 people. That compares to 227.1 last week.

Wychavon's coronavirus rate rose to 390.2 from 240.3 a week earlier, while Malvern's rate stood at 259.2 - up on the 142.3 the week prior.

All six districts are still seeing a rise in the weekly rate as days go on, however the numbers locally remain lower than the national average.

In the past week, Worcestershire recorded 2,788 positive coronavirus cases - more than all the confirmed cases seen in May, June, July, August and September combined.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 98 per cent have seen a rise in case rates and just six have seen numbers fall.

Barking and Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,331 new cases recorded in the seven days to January 3 - the equivalent of 1,564.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Earlier this week, Dr Kathryn Cobain, the director for Public Health for Worcestershire, blamed the "concerning" rise on people meeting up over Christmas.

She said: "I am concerned about this level of spread, and the risk it poses to our health and the lives of our vulnerable and elderly residents.

"We need to act now to protect one another, prevent the virus spreading further and reduce the demand on our hospitals.

"The pandemic continues to dominate our daily lives, cases are rising nationally and we know the new variant of Covid-19 spreads very quickly.

"Our NHS is also facing considerable pressure on its services. All of these factors have led to the government’s announcement of a new lockdown across England. This means once again, we are facing tough restrictions on our way of life.

"I know this is hard, but by doing as we are asked, we are saving lives. The restrictions have been brought in to protect every one of us.

"Please now stay at home, don’t go out unless you need to, for example to buy food or collect medicines."