Coronavirus rates in England are now highest in London, but infections have plateaued nationwide, the latest figures show.
The capital had the highest average infection rate in the country – 191.8 per 100,000 people – for the week of 30 November to 6 December, according to the weekly surveillance survey by Public Health England.
This is up from 158.1 per 100,00 in the previous week, and Sky News understands the capital’s MPs will receive a briefing on the situation from health minister Helen Whateley later on Thursday.
Public Health England’s latest data shows that cases have increased in 24 of London‘s 32 boroughs.
Havering, east of the capital, had the highest rate for the week ending 3 December – 346 per 100,000 people.
It comes after the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, warned people in the city that they risk moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3 restrictions amid the surge in cases.
England’s tiered system is due to be reviewed on 16 December, which the government has said could present opportunities for areas to move up or down a tier.
But across the country, PHE data shows coronavirus case rates remained “at a similar level” for the week ending 6 December to what they were the week before.
Case rates have fallen the most in the West Midlands – there the figure is 158.4 per 100,000, down from 196.8 the previous week.
In England, COVID infections were highest among people aged between 40 and 49 and hospital admissions were highest in the North East.
Case numbers fell across Yorkshire and the Humber, but rose in the East and South East of England, according to the figures.
Overall, both acute respiratory infections as a result of the virus and hospital admissions dropped.
The age group admitted to hospital the most frequently was those aged 85 and over.
Commenting on the figures, medical director at Public Health England, Dr Yvonne Doyle, said: “Everyone’s sacrifices over the past few weeks means cases have reduced significantly in many parts of the country.
“However, the decline has started to stall and overall, infection rates remain high so we must all stay vigilant.”
According to the latest Test and Trace figures for England, 96,415 people tested positive at least once in the week to 2 December.
A total of 91,578 people were put into the system – with 86% reached and asked to provide contacts. This is largely unchanged on 86.1% in the previous week.