The areas of Norfolk recording almost no new Covid cases

Covid map

Areas which record zero to three new Covid cases last week are in white. Darker areas recorded the most cases - Credit: Public Health England

Seven areas of Norfolk recorded fewer than three new coronavirus cases last week for the first time in more than two months.

Public Health England releases figures each week showing the number of new cases in every area of the country. Each area has around 8,000 residents. But when there are fewer than three cases, the exact number is not released as it is so low.

The numbers for the seven days leading up to Tuesday February 9 show zero to three cases in Spixworth, Thorpe St Andrew North, Brundall & Cantley, Harleston, Holt, Reepham and Mundford. 

It is the first time since mid-December that any area of the county has recorded so few infections.

In Suffolk there was even better news with 12 areas recording no more than three cases, including Oulton Broad West, villages around Walsham le Willows and Fressingfield.

Suffolk now has the lowest infection rate in east England with 90 new cases per 100,000 people. The average in England is 158 cases per 100,000. 

At the other end of the scale, cases remain high around Norwich in Catton Grove, Heartsease, and Earlham. The number of new infections is also high in Wayland, which is thought to be down to an outbreak at the prison. King’s Lynn also has some of the highest rates in Norfolk. 

Data released at the end of this week will show how effective vaccines have been at reducing cases and further falls are likely.

A worker hangs a direction sign to the NHS Covid Vaccine Centre.

Data released on Friday should show how effective vaccines have been at reducing infections - Credit: PA

However, cases and deaths in hospitals and care homes remain high. This newspaper reported last week that at the start of February there was still a record number of Covid patients in critical care in Norfolk’s hospitals, with the James Paget University Hospital running out of critical care beds. 

Public health director for Norfolk, Dr Louise Smith, said last week that should drop in the coming weeks as overall infections decline.

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The fall in cases has heaped pressure on prime minister Boris Johnson to set out how fast lockdown will be eased. Ministers are working on a plan this week and Mr Johnson will announce the next steps on Monday, February 22.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that there was "some way to go" before lockdown was eased.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said hospitals' debt would be written off. Picture: Pippa Fowles/Crown

Health secretary Matt Hancock - Credit: Pippa Fowles/Crown/Downing Street/PA Wire