As England prepares for the next easing of restrictions, seven districts and boroughs in Essex have seen their infection rate creep up.
Within this upcoming set of changes, hugging with family and members of another household will be permitted from next week.
It is the ‘biggest step’ in lockdown easing so far, Boris Johnson announced in his Downing Street press briefing on May 10.
From next Monday, according to the latest government guidance, hugging between people from different bubbles will be allowed for the first time in 15 months.
People will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people – up from just six now.
People from different households or bubbles can also meet indoors socially for the first time.
Sign up to our newsletter for all your Essex news:
These indoor gatherings will be limited to six people or a maximum of two households or bubbles – whichever is larger.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to serve customers indoors for the first time this year.
Cinemas, theatres sports arenas and event venues will also be allowed to reopen their doors.
People will also be allowed to travel overseas again, as long as they follow the rules set out in the Government’s ‘traffic lights’ system.
However, there are some concerns that the lifting of restrictions could lead to a spike in the number of infections, and naturally infection rates in most places increased slightly after the easing of lockdown rules on April 12.
In Essex, Uttlesford, Harlow, Colchester, Southend, Chelmsford, Brentwood and Epping Forest have all reported more Covid-19 cases for the seven days to May 7 when to compared to the previous week, according to the latest data.
The data, which is compiled by Public Health England, shows that Uttlesford has recorded the highest leap in Covid-19 infections.
The district, which encompasses areas like Saffron Walden and Stansted Mountfitchet, reported 12 new Covid-19 cases for the seven days to May 7.
Rochford’s infection rate stayed the same, while the county’s other six major areas saw a decline.
Tell us what you think about the latest rules changes in our survey below:
Here are the latest coronavirus figures in Essex.
From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to May 7; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to May 7; rate of new cases in the seven days to April 30; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to April 30. The areas in bold are where Covid-19 cases have increased this week.
Uttlesford, 25.2, (23), 12.1, (11)
Harlow, 20.7, (18), 18.4, (16)
Chelmsford, 19.1, (34), 15.7, (28)
Colchester, 13.4, (26), 11.8, (23)
Tendring, 13.0, (19), 13.6, (20)
Southend-on-Sea, 11.5, (21), 10.4, (19)
Epping Forest, 11.4, (15), 8.4, (11)
Brentwood, 9.1, (7), 5.2, (4)
Thurrock, 8.0, (14), 14.3, (25)
Basildon, 6.9, (13), 12.8, (24)
Rochford, 6.9, (6), 6.9, (6)
Braintree, 6.6, (10), 11.1, (17)
Maldon, 4.6, (3), 6.2, (4)
Castle Point, 1.1, (1), 6.6, (6)