North Somerset has become the worst-hit area in the South West for coronavirus infection rates – with the council’s leader warning this week that it could result in a local lockdown.

The district’s rate of people catching the virus has more than doubled in a week to 25 per 100,000 population after 53 new cases were confirmed over seven days up to September 6th, according to new weekly figures.

North Somerset has risen 55 places to number 80 in the ranking table of 315 local authorities in England for the worst infection rates – and it’s become the highest in the South West.

North Somerset Council has reacted by saying the figures are a ‘wake-up call’ for residents to abide by safety measures to avoid a local lockdown.

Council director of public health, Matt Lenny, says: “The recent rise in case numbers should act as a wake-up call for everyone that the virus is still present locally.”

And Cllr Don Davies, leader of the council, adds: “Other parts of the country have seen lockdown measures imposed where case numbers have risen, and while we’re not in that territory yet, we could be if we don’t all do our bit to protect ourselves and our friends and family. We all have a duty to take responsibility for our own actions in minimising risk of spread and to follow the latest national guidance around testing and self-isolation.”

It comes as there have been eight new cases of coronavirus recorded across Somerset during the past 24 hours, says Public Health England. Mendip has seen the biggest increase in infections, with three new cases, while Bath and North East Somerset has recorded two new positive tests.

One new case has been confirmed in each of North Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor. It takes the total number of cases in the county since the start of the pandemic to 2,899.

More than 2,000 new cases have been confirmed across the country for the fifth day running, with 2,919 infections taking the national total to 358,138.

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