LOCKDOWN rules have eased further today across England.

Residents now have newfound freedom to visit loved ones inside, go for a meal at a restaurant or a drink at a pub indoors.

The lifting of restrictions, however, comes as concern rises over the spread of the Indian Covid variant across the UK.

But what is the situation in Colchester?

Essex County Council has confirmed one case of the Indian Covid variant has been identified in Colchester.

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A spokesman said: "A single positive case of the Indian Variant Covid-19 strain was detected in Colchester.

“This one case was linked to travel from India and all the necessary self-isolation and contact tracing has been completed, swiftly and successfully containing the case.”

According to the latest Government figures, Colchester's average infection rate was 19.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week to May 11.

This is because there were 38 cases confirmed across the borough during this week.

The infection rate has risen but remains at a low level compared with earlier in the pandemic.

A total of 13 parts of the borough recorded less than three Covid cases in this week.

This means that the virus is classed as "suppressed" in these areas and no infection rate data is recorded.

Here are the latest infection rates for each part of Colchester and the number of cases:

  • Shrub End - 42 (four cases)
  • Prettygate & Westlands - 41 (three cases)
  • Old Heath & Rowhedge - 32.6 (three cases)
  • New Town & Hythe - 28.4 (four cases)
  • Highwoods - 30.2 (three cases)
  • Mile End & Braiswick - 26.9 (four cases)
  • Central Colchester - 25.8 (three cases)
  • Horkesley Heath, Langham & Dedham - less than three
  • Monkwick - less than three
  • Parson's Heath - less than three
  • Greenstead - less than three
  • Abbey Field - less than three
  • Stanway - less than three
  • Wivenhoe & University - less than three
  • Marks Tey & Wakes Colne - less than three
  • West Bergholt & Wormingford - less than three
  • Layer-de-la-Haye, Abberton & Mersea East - less than three
  • West Mersea - less than three
  • Lexden - less than three
  • Tiptree - less than three

Enhanced contract tracing and testing is being rolled out in Chelmsford to combat the spread of the Indian Covid variant, it has also been confirmed.

County Hall says it is now working closely with Public Health England district councils and the Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service.