WIRRAL'S infection rate remains worryingly high, but one ward has become the borough's most affected area.

Wallasey has registered 75 cases of coronavirus over the last 14 days of available figures, between September 12 and September 25.

Prenton was the second worst-hit ward with 71 cases, followed by Seacombe on 69.

During Wirral's recent spike in Covid-19 cases, the worst-hit ward has always been within the Birkenhead constituency, so these figures do represent a slight change in the spread of the virus locally.

But Birkenhead wards are still registering high infection numbers.

The wards of Oxton, and Birkenhead and Tranmere, recorded the most cases behind Wallasey, Prenton and Seacombe.

Wirral's infections remain concentrated in the east of the borough, with much lower case numbers in wards such as Hoylake and Meols, Greasby, Frankby and Irby, and Heswall, although overall case numbers are up across the peninsula.

In recent weeks infections have grown across Merseyside, leading to the announcement of new restrictions today.

Wirral's infection rate of 161 per 100,000 is a large increase on the rate of just 59 per 100,000 registered three weeks ago.

But the huge rates of 284 per 100,000 and 268 per 100,000, registered in Knowsley and Liverpool respectively, are among the highest in the country.

To tackle the rise, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has put in place further restrictions for Merseyside.

The additional measures are the same as those recently announced for the North East and essentially mean that there will now be an outright ban on different households mixing with each other in any indoor setting.

These new restrictions will also apply to Halton and Warrington.

This includes pubs, bars and restaurants, as well as private homes, which were already banned in the previous measures.

Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Mr Hancock said: "In some parts of the country the virus is spreading fast.

"In Liverpool the number of cases are 268 per 1,000 – so we need to act.

"Today I am extending these measures that have been in place in the North East since the start of this week to the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough."