Coronavirus infection rates have risen in three south east London boroughs as the number of virus cases creeps up amid worries over the spread of new variants.

But the number of infections remains relatively low across all local boroughs, with case rates similar to those in lockdown.

South Londoners have been enjoying the freedoms allowed in the latest stage of the Government's roadmap, with indoor pubs, restaurants and other attractions such as sporting events and museums reopening for the first time in 2021.

Whilst it is soon to measure the impact of the latest rule change on case numbers, the latest statistics are promisingly low following several weeks of outdoor socialising being allowed.

However, the spread of the Indian variant has become the latest cause of concern this week having just been identified in all south east London boroughs.

With 43% of local areas in England now recording rises in cases, including three out of four south east London boroughs, experts will be carefully monitoring these figures.

The latest stats come from Public Health England, showing the infection rates for the past week running up until May 15.

Covid-19 graphics - PA

Covid-19 graphics - PA

The figures are based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, with the rate expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the area.

And Greenwich has seen a small surge in the past seven days, with 80 new cases of Covid-19 recorded.

The borough's infection rate has increased from 18.1 to 27.8.

Lewisham has also seen an increase of over 50%, with its case rate rising from 11.4 to 19.9 after 61 new Covid-19 cases were reported.

In Bromley, a small increase in case numbers was recorded. 48 new cases saw the infection rate rise from 12.6 to 14.4.

Bexley was the only borough to record a fall in infections, with the case rate falling from 15.3 to 12.1 after 30 cases were recorded.

Nearby, Croydon recorded 99 new infections, causing its case rate to rise from 18.9 to 25.6.

Dartford's case rate fell to 7.1, Southwark stayed the same at 12.9 and Wandsworth fell slightly to 16.4.

London during the pandemic - PA

London during the pandemic - PA

The list has been calculated by the PA news agency based on Public Health England data published on May 19 on the Government's coronavirus dashboard.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 135 (43%) have seen a rise in rates, 164 (52%) have seen a fall and 16 are unchanged.

Bolton in Greater Manchester continues to have the highest rate, with 920 new cases in the seven days to May 15 - the equivalent of 319.9 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 161.4 in the seven days to May 8.

Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire has the second highest rate, up from 96.2 to 145.0, with 217 new cases.

Bedford has the third highest, up from 69.2 to 127.5, with 221 new cases.