A TOWN in Essex has recorded the lowest Covid-19 rate in the whole of England with no new cases in the last seven days.

Maldon was coronavirus free in the the seven days leading up to April 22, according to the latest Government data.

The district has been an area with some of the lowest Covid rates in Essex, with only five cases recorded in the seven days leading up to April 15.

The town has recorded no deaths in the last seven days and has an infection rate of 0 per 100,000 of the population, according to the figures.

The only other areas of the UK to record zero cases in the past seven days are parts of the Outer Hebrides and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

Areas with the highest infection rates across the UK include Derry City and Strabane in Northern Ireland and Doncaster and Kirklees in Yorkshire with cases in the hundreds.

Essex was one of the worst affected counties during the most recent wave of coronavirus with a major incident declared in the area in December.

Cases threatened to overwhelm its health services as the highly transmissible Kent variant was found to be spreading rapidly through the county.

However, cases have fallen dramatically since the introduction of the third lockdown and the roll out of the vaccination programme.

The Covid-19 infection rate in Colchester now stands at 11.8 per 100,000 with 23 cases being recorded.

In Tendring, the infection rate is now 26.6 per 100,000 with 39 cases.

An expert has said Maldon’s demographic could have helped it to control the virus alongside the vaccine roll-out.

Prof Rowland Kao, chairman of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science at Edinburgh University, told the I website: “Maldon is relatively well off area with low deprivation which we know has an impact on Covid.

“In particular, ability to quarantine is partially about deprivation with evidence that there are those who cannot afford to isolate.

“So while vaccination numbers are important, so are other factors too.”

He added the fact Essex was badly impacted by coronavirus towards the end of last year means its populations are likely to have a high level of immunity.

“It’s not just vaccinations but past infections that count,” he said.

“It is important to remember there are still plenty of people who have not been vaccinated or infected – so as restrictions ease and contacts become more frequent, the risk of infection will increase.

“Another wave is possible, but the expectation is that severe illness and death should be much reduced.