The number of daily Covid infections in Kent has fallen to its lowest level since last summer – but five areas of the county are still seeing rates above the national average.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were around 1.5 million people in private households with the virus in the week to May 7, up from two million the previous week.

Lateral flow tests are no longer free on the NHS for most people

The average Covid infection rate in England stands at 107.9 per 100,000 population, statistics show.

Five areas in Kent have higher rates.

Maidstone tops the charts with 122 out of 100,000 people having tested positive for Covid. The city is followed by Tunbridge Wells (117.7), Dartford (115.7), Canterbury (111.5) and Tonbridge and Malling (110.9).

The average infection rate in Kent, excluding Medway, is 98.5.

Maidstone also recorded the largest percentage increase, at 31.1%.

Other areas seeing an increase in cases are Sevenoaks (5.2%), Canterbury (3.9%) and Tonbridge and Malling (1.4%).

County-wide, however, cases have declined by an average of 7.4%.

Maidstone has the highest Covid rate in Kent
Maidstone has the highest Covid rate in Kent

The latest Covid statistics for Kent districts are as follows. The figures show the number of new cases recorded over seven days; infection rate per 100,000 people (in bold) and percentage increase.

Ashford: 111; 84.7; -13/3%

Canterbury: 186; 111.5; 3.9%

Dartford: 132; 115.7; -1.5%

Dover: 102; 86.1; -22.1%

Folkestone and Hythe: 89; 78.5; -29.4%

Graveham: 92; 86.1; -17.1%

Maidstone: 211; 121.9; 31.1%

Medway: 285; 102.1; -5.3%

Sevenoaks: 122; 100.5; 5.2%

Swale: 129; 85.4; -3.7%

Thannet: 105; 74.2; -38.6%

Tonbridge and Shopping Centre: 147; 110.9; 1.4%

Tunbridge Wells: 140; 117.7; -10.3%

Kent: 1,257; 98.5; -7.4%

An ONS map showing the case rate per 100,000 people for the seven-day period ending May 8
An ONS map showing the case rate per 100,000 people for the seven-day period ending May 8

In Kent, the daily number of Covid cases has continued to fall since a small peak in mid-March. They are now at levels not seen since last June, although that may be partly due to a drop in testing.

Since April, most people are not eligible for free lateral flow tests.

Most people with symptoms also cannot order free PCR tests, and the rules on what to do if you test positive have also been relaxed.

In England, reported infections fell for the fifth consecutive week, with 1.2 million people likely to test positive for Covid-19, the equivalent of around one in 45 people.

This is down from 1.6 million, or one in 35, and is the lowest estimate since the week ending December 16.