A handful of areas in south Essex have recorded multiple new cases of coronavirus in the past week. 

The Government's Covid hotspots map shows the the majority of neighbourhoods in the region are virtually free of the virus and reported fewer than three cases in the week ending April 28. 

It comes despite shops, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopening more than two weeks ago. 

There are only seven areas which saw new cases recorded in the latest period. 

Those areas - and their current infection rates - were:

  • Whitmore Way and Fremnells - 64.2
  • Laindon East and Lee Chapel North - 47.2
  • Benfleet Appleton - 44.2
  • Leigh - 28.7
  • Corringham North and London Gateway - 44.1
  • Tilbury - 27.1
  • Grays Chafford Gorges and Orsett Road - 32.1

Infection rates across south Essex remain low and roughly inline with the national average of 22.9 infections per 100,000 people. 

The data comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics show fewer secondary school pupils and staff in England are testing positive for Covid since schools reopened. 

Around 0.33% of pupils and 0.32% of staff in secondary schools tested positive for Covid-19 from mid to late March, compared with 1.22% and 1.64% respectively in December, according to a small study of schools.

The survey from the ONS also suggests that the percentage of secondary school pupils and staff testing positive for Covid-19 is significantly lower than in November when 1.42% of pupils and 1.36% of staff tested positive for current infection.

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The Schools Infection Study, from PHE, the ONS and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), tested staff and pupils in 137 schools after schools reopened in March.

Overall, 15,187 school staff and pupils took part in the study on school sites between March 15 and 30.

The data included 80 secondary and 57 primary schools in 15 local authorities.

Dr Shamez Ladhani, a PHE consultant epidemiologist and the study’s chief investigator, said: “Results of this study shows current Covid-19 infection among secondary school staff and pupils has fallen significantly from the already low levels recorded last November.

“These findings are reassuring and contribute to wider evidence that shows the risk of transmission in schools is low.

“This also indicates the importance of public health measures in schools for reducing transmission.”