Nearly 900 new coronavirus cases were recorded in Chelmsford in the past week. 

Government data shows there 887 infections in the area in the week ending July 13 - the highest total for anywhere in Essex. 

It is also a higher number than the 847 cases recorded in Chelmsford in the week ending January 19 - the height of the second wave. 

The infection rate in Chelmsford stands at 497.2 cases per 100,000 people. 

There were 73 new Covid cases in Central Chelmsofrd alone last week, while other areas such as Boreham and Little Baddow, Springfield North, and Great Baddow South and West all recorded more than 50. 

Desoite Covid rates continuing to rise across the country, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was “confident” the Government was “doing the right thing” in lifting most coronavirus restrictions in England.

He told Sky News: “We have to be careful, we have to remain vigilant.

“Our border controls remain in place, our expectation and recommendation that people in crowded places continue to wear masks and take both personal and corporate responsibility, and it is great to see TfL and others doing that.

“It is a step forward, an important step forward – there is no perfect time to take this step, this is as good a time as any as (Professor) Chris Whitty has said, with the summer holidays and schools being out, which will hopefully bear down on the R number, the transition rate.

“So, I’m confident that we are doing the right thing.

“I think the vaccination programme has allowed us to take this step, to take it cautiously with this wall of protection among adults in the United Kingdom.”

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, added that death rates will remain low because of the jab, but warned that they will rise.

“The effectiveness of the vaccines against severe disease and hospitalisation and death remains extremely high against the variants which are around here in the UK,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I think with that information, we can be very confident that the rates will remain low – but they are going to rise, and we know that.

“The modelling predicts that there will be an increase in cases as we have been hearing over the last few days.

“Of course we’re seeing it, that there are more people getting infected, and that will unfortunately translate into an increase in hospitalisations and deaths.

“But it will be far lower than we have experienced in previous waves.”