The spread of coronavirus in Wirral has changed significantly, as a new ward suffers the highest number of cases in the most recent week’s figures.

Claughton, in the Birkenhead constituency, recorded 73 cases of the virus in the seven days up to October 9.

Previously, three wards within the Wallasey constituency were the worst affected in the borough.

But in this week’s figures just one Wallasey ward ranked among the top five worst hit. While Claughton was the most infected ward, Bidston and St James was second on 61 cases, with Liscard third on 57.

Oxton and Rock Ferry were the next two worst-hit areas on the list, but surprisingly Heswall was sixth with 49 infections.

During the entire second wave of the virus, which has been growing over the last two and a half months, areas in the east of the borough have been the worst hit.

Heswall is the first from the west of the borough to feature highly in the numbers. Indeed, Heswall recorded more infections than Wallasey in the last seven days of available figures.

Although the worst-hit wards are still in the east of Wirral, there are signs that infections are spreading across the whole borough. 12 of Wirral’s 22 wards registered between 42 and 49 cases of coronavirus in the seven days up to October 9.

Wirral’s residents must begin to get used to Tier 3 restrictions, which have seen pubs, gyms, casinos, adult gaming centres and betting shops closed across the Liverpool City Region, amid an infection rate which has continued to rise.

In the same period as the data for wards, Wirral as a whole registered 1,038 cases at a rate of 320 per 100,000, up from a rate of 226 per 100,000 recorded just a week earlier.

The borough’s infection rate is far lower than Liverpool’s, which is 683 per 100,000, or Knowsley’s figure of 726 per 100,000 residents.

The rationale for Tier 3 rules being introduced in the Liverpool City Region is that as well as the area’s high infection rates some of its hospitals are being pushed to the brink by new Covid-19 admissions.

This pressure is something which has not yet been experienced in other areas with high infection rates, such as Nottingham.