Coronavirus infection rates remain concerningly high in south east London and Kent, with Bexley and Dartford among the top 15 worst affected areas in England.

The latest Public Health England figures, accurate for the seven days running to December 28, are based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (December 29-January 1) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

Bexley has the 11th highest rate in England, with 1033.5 cases per 100,000, although this is an improvement on the previous week when the figure was 1079.

This amounted to an additional 2566 individual cases over the period.

Dartford has the 15th highest rate at 975.1 cases per 100,000, up from 928 the week before, recording 1098 new cases.

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Bromley has the second highest rate in south east London at 893.1 per 100,00, up from 838 the week before. A total of 2968 new cases were recorded.

The rate in Greenwich is slightly lower, at 806.1 per 100,000, up from 762.5 the previous week. This amounted to a total of 2334 cases.

Lewisham remains the least affected, although the rate rose considerably from 673.9 per 100,000 to 763.1. A total of 2334 new cases were recorded.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 233 (74%) have seen a rise in case rates, 77 (24%) have seen a fall, and five are unchanged.

A further 383 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 51,051, NHS England said on Saturday.

Patients were aged between 27 and 100. All except 11, aged between 36 and 95, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between November 18 2020 and January 1 2021.
There were 13 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.