Northampton continues to have the highest coronavirus infection rate in England, new daily figures show.
In the seven days up to 16 August, Northampton had 116.6 new infections per 100,000 people, according to Wednesday’s latest rolling figures calculated by the PA news agency.
This was up from 38.7 per 100,000 the week before, though the rapid jump is due to an outbreak at the town’s Greencore sandwich factory, where 287 workers have tested positive.
Oldham, meanwhile, has the second highest infection rate at 84.3 per 100,000, amid fears a local lockdown could be imposed on Thursday.
Here are the 10 areas with the most new infections per 100,000 people in the seven days up to 16 August.
Blackburn with Darwen 76.2
While Northampton has the highest infection rate because of the factory outbreak, Oldham has consistently been at or near the top in recent weeks.
However, the latest figures are down from the 105.4 infections per 100,000 people recorded in the week up to 9 August.
Despite this, leaders are fearful a local lockdown could be imposed on Oldham, with council leader Sean Fielding saying at a press conference on Wednesday it is “genuinely being considered” by the government.
Yahoo News UK understands Downing Street is set to make a decision on Thursday.
The council is against a lockdown because the virus is “predominantly” spreading through households, something partly caused by crowded living conditions.
“Closing down non-essential businesses in Oldham would not change that,” Fielding said. “It would not solve that problem.”
He said a forced closure of businesses would be “catastrophic” for the area’s economy, which already has a 15% unemployment rate.
Save the Children has said the town has the highest rate of child poverty in England and warned deprivation could soar if there is a local lockdown.
The charity, which is calling for a boost of £20 a week to the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, said children in Oldham are six times more likely to be living in poverty than those in wealthier areas of the country.