Covid-19 infection rates have fallen to new lows in south east London in the wake of Easter and the lockdown ease.

The number of new cases in each borough are being closely scrutinised at the moment, with experts and the public alike watching for the expected spike following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Boris Johnson said an increase in infections was "inevitable" with pub gardens, non-essential shops and casual sport returning, but the latest figures from Public Health England paint a very promising early picture, with London and the South East have seen the sharpest falls.

All boroughs in south east London have recorded a decline in cases in the past week, with some falling below 10 cases per 100,000 people, which is less than 1% of the figures seen in December's big spike.

The latest REACT study suggests infection rates are now at a level last seen in early September - and are nearly the same as the end of the first lockdown last May.

Across England, data shows an average of just one in 500 people was carrying the virus in March - and the study also indicated that the vaccine rollout could be "breaking the link" between infections, deaths and hospital admissions.

Queues form in south London after shops reopened this week PA

Queues form in south London after shops reopened this week PA

Tuesday's daily update from PHE reveals the Covid-19 infection rate, expressed as the number of new cases in the area per 100,000 people.

The figures, accurate for the seven days to April 9 (April 10-14 is excluded for accuracy), are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government's testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

Queues form in south London after shops reopened this week

Queues form in south London after shops reopened this week

Bromley currently boasts the lowest Covid-19 rate in south east London, with just 9.6 cases per 100,000.

The borough recorded just 32 virus cases in the last week, and it's rate has fallen from 17.5 the week prior.

In Lewisham, the infection rate is 11.1, down from 16.3, after just 34 cases were reported.

Greenwich has a rate of 11.8, down by over 50% from 25.0, and also recorded 34 cases.

Bexley currently has the highest Covid-19 rate in the region, but this is just 16.5 after a major drop off from 44.3 the week before. The borough recorded 41 new cases.

Nearby, Southwark has a rate of just 7.0, Croydon recorded 15.5 and Dartford 28.4.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 40 (13%) have seen a rise in case rates, 264 (84%) have seen a fall and 11 are unchanged.

PA Graphic

PA Graphic

Mansfield in Nottinghamshire continues to have the highest rate in England, with 108 new cases recorded in the seven days to April 9, the equivalent of 98.8 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 97.0 per 100,000 in the seven days to April 2.

Corby in Northamptonshire has the second highest rate, down from 145.4 to 96.9, with 70 new cases.

Barnsley has the third highest rate, down from 109.8 to 87.5, with 216 new cases.

The list has been calculated by the PA news agency based on Public Health England data published on April 13 on the Government's coronavirus dashboard.