Knowsley now has the highest coronavirus infection rate of any Merseyside borough as the region continues to head towards a lockdown.
According to figures published by the government on Tuesday, Knowsley recorded 145 cases of Covid-19 in the week up to September 11.
This was almost three times the total of new cases in the previous week and put the borough’s infection rate at 96 cases per 100,000 residents.
Liverpool, previously the worst-hit borough in the region, recorded an infection rate of 95 cases per 100,000 residents in the same period, while Wirral recorded an infection rate of around 90.
However, it was St Helens that saw the most alarming rise in cases last with, with new infections soaring 225% compared to the week before.
That rise was driven mainly by Newton-Le-Willows, which saw more new cases of coronavirus than anywhere else in Merseyside. Neighbouring Earlestown also saw significant outbreaks, with infection rates of over 300 cases per 100,000 residents.
And these figures could still increase as the national testing service continues to deal with a backlog of tests caused by “exceptional demand”.
But with infection rates in several boroughs already in the 90s, further lockdown measures have become even more likely.
Other areas with similar infection rates, particularly Birmingham, have already been placed back into lockdown by the government.
The anomaly on Merseyside is Sefton, which has seen a much slower rise in cases than other parts of the region.
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Cases there rose only 40% last week and the borough has an infection rate of just 50 cases per 100,000 residents.
This is much lower even than Halton, previously the least affected borough in the Liverpool City Region, which now has an infection rate of 60 cases per 100,000 residents – twice what it was in the previous week.