Sunderland's coronavirus cases rise by 800% in a week as city is set to be added to government watchlist

Sunderland could be in line to join a health watchlist due to its sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 8:29 am

It is expected the city will be added to the Public Health England’s Watchlist as an Enhanced Concern area due to its jump in case figures, with South Tyneside and Gateshead already given the status.

Newcastle City Council has said it also said it anticipates the same response from the organisation.

The Department of Health and Social Care is likely to make an announcement on the locations on the list later today as it looks to guide the national response to the pandemic.

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Concerns have grown as the number of Covid-19 cases has risen across Sunderland in recent weeks.

When South Tyneside was added last Friday, September 4, its council warned while further lockdown restrictions were not needed, they could be imminent if infection rates continue to rise.

The watchlist warning comes as Sunderland’s rate rose by 792% according to the latest weekly figures.

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The figures for the seven days up to Monday, September 7, found the infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 80.3, or 223 people, compared to a rate of nine and 25 people in the week before up to Monday, August 31.

City leaders have already asked care homes to suspend all “non-essential visits” due to Sunderland’s rise, with letters sent to all 84 homes across the area.

The statistics are pulled together from tests carried out in laboratories and others carried out in the wider community.

The rates put Sunderland in a list of places where there have been notable jumps.

The highest has been seen in Bolton, where 462 new cases were recorded in the week up to September 7, a rate of 160.7 per 100,000 people, up from a rate of 80 and case numbers of 230 in the seven days to August 31.

Birmingham has the second-highest rate, up from 32.0 to 85.4 with 975 new cases.

Preston is in third place, where the rate has risen from 35.6 to 85.2, with 122 new cases, while Salford is up from 39.4 to 82.3, with 213 new cases.

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