Halton now has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the Liverpool City Region after cases of the virus rose slightly last week.

After several weeks of falling infections, Halton recorded 80 new cases of Covid-19 in the week up to March 23, up from 74 in the previous week.

With an infection rate of 61.8 cases per 100,000 people, the borough has now replaced St Helens as the place with the highest Covid infection rate.

However, the slight weekly rise is not necessarily cause for concern. The past week has seen case numbers fluctuate between 76 and 84, suggesting cases are in fact levelling off rather than starting to rise again.

This is supported by the fact that the proportion of Covid tests coming back positive has plateaued following the reopening of schools on March 8.

With cases plateauing, the borough will now have to wait and see what the impact of the further relaxation of restrictions planned for Monday (March 29) will be.

The Rule of Six is set to return on Monday, with people being able to meet outside in groups of up to six.

The impact of this change on infection rates will not be clear for another two weeks, however, due to the time it takes for the virus to incubate.

During the week up to March 23, Halton saw only one death from Covid-19, down from three in the previous week, while the number of Covid patients in local hospitals also declined.