THERE are now more than 3,000 people infected with coronavirus in Wirral.

In the last seven days of figures, which go up to January 8, 3,089 people tested positive for the virus in Wirral, at a rate of 953 per 100,000.

The rate has ballooned in the last week.

Numbers for the previous seven days, up to January 1, reveal there were 1,967 cases in the borough at the lower rate of 607 per 100,000.

Most of this rise was seen in the period between January 1 and January 5, with the infection rate rising from 607 to 903 in that period, but it will take more data to assess whether a slower rate of increase after that is part of a new trend.

Despite the dramatic increase, Wirral's infection rate is actually below all but one of the areas in the Liverpool City Region in the same period.

Knowsley has the highest rate in the region, at 1,400 per 100,000, a huge rise from 598 the previous week.

Halton and Liverpool also recorded big rates, at 1,260 and 1,036 respectively.

Both of these numbers were significant increases on the infection rates of 695, in Halton, and 493, in Liverpool, seen in the previous seven day period.

Sefton’s rate was also above 1,000, at 1,035 specifically, again this was a major rise on the rate of 530 per 100,000 seen just a week earlier.

St Helens is the only part of the city region to have a lower infection rate than Wirral, although its rate of 837 was still a sharp increase on last week’s rate of 391.

Could these numbers see tougher rules brought in?

It has been suggested that the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country means the national lockdown in England must become more strict.

Speaking yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock implied that more stringent measures could be brought in.

Pressed on possible restrictions, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “I don’t want to speculate because the most important message is not whether the Government will further strengthen the rules.

“The most important thing is that people stay at home and follow the rules that we have got.

“And that, in terms of the scale of the impact on the cases, that is the most important thing we can do collectively as a society.”

Among the measures the government could adopt is a curfew limiting the times at which people are allowed to leave their homes, closing nurseries, scrapping support bubbles and making it compulsory to wear face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.

Ultimately, any decisions on the restrictions will depend on whether cases are rising or falling, if new strains of the virus develop and the level of deaths and hospital admissions.