Coronavirus deaths in 30 times higher in parts of Essex than rural Scotland

Covid death rates in two south-east districts are as much as 30 times higher than parts of northern Scotland.

New government figures revealed Castle Point and Tendering, both in Essex, were the UK's worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Castle Point has suffered the highest death toll of any UK authority, with 393 per 100,000, while second-placed Tendering has 381 – a staggering 0.4% or one in every 250 of their populations.

The figures, which include deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, Kent towns Hythe and Folkestone have also struggled with infections, with 364 deaths per 100,000 – more than 0.36% of the population.

The picture is vastly different across the Scottish Highlands and Islands, which has seen rates as low as 13.5 on the Orkney Islands.

In England, there have been 194 deaths per 100,000 – nearly 0.2% – compared to 186 across the entire UK.

Rother in East Sussex at 343 per 100,000 and East Staffordshire with 337 are also among the worst-hit areas..

In parts of Lancashire, London and Yorkshire, more than 0.3% of residents died after contracting the virus in the last 12 months.

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Five Welsh authorities confirmed rates of more than 300 Covid deaths per 100,000, the figures show, but those take into account all fatalities in which the virus was mentioned on the death certificate.

They include Rhondda Cynon Taf (351 per 100,000), Bridgend (333), Merthyr Tydfil (333), Neath Port Talbot (318) and Blaenau Gwent (301)

The Orkneys in Scotland recorded just three coronavirus deaths within 28 days of a test since the outbreak started, giving it the UK's lowest fatality rate of 13.5 per 100,000.

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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, on the Isle of Lewis, has a rate of 26.2. Moray (30.3), the Shetland Islands (39.3) and the Highlands (40.3) round out the bottom five.

The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Tracker states the UK has suffered the third highest death rate at about 181 fatalities per 100,000 people.

However, the Department of Health claims the rate is actually at 186.5.

Experts believe Britain's dense population and London's European transport links have greatly contributed to the high death rates.

Yesterday, Britain recorded just 65 more Covid deaths – the lowest since October.

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Nearly 24million of Britain's most vulnerable been given their first Covid vaccination. Around a million have had both injections.

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech jabs are more than 80% effective at reducing Covid-related hospitalisations after one jab.

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