WEST BERKSHIRE has one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in the country.

The latest figures show the district’s seven-day infection rate stands at 53.6 cases per 100,000 people, after 85 new cases.

In England, only Torbay, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Dorset, the Isle of Wight and Wirral have lower infection rates (as of December 8).

Matt Pearce, West Berkshire Council’s head of Public Health, said: “It’s significantly lower than in all the other local authorities across Berkshire.

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“Clearly, it’s significantly lower than Slough (in Tier 3) and the average for the South East (147.8 cases per 100,000).

“I think it’s clearly down to the good work of all the West Berkshire residents in terms of complying with the guidance and we’re seeing that in the data now.”

The seven-day infection rate in the district has dropped significantly since November 14, when it peaked at 128.1 cases per 100,000.

But people in West Berkshire have been living under Tier 2 (high alert) rules since the four-week national lockdown ended on December 2.

That’s because the government introduced a tougher tier system and decided to impose Berkshire-wide restrictions (with the exception of Slough).

However, local leaders are hoping West Berkshire will return to Tier 1 (medium alert) in time for Christmas, as the government will review the restrictions on December 16.

According to Cllr Lynne Doherty, the government could consider relaxing the restrictions if there is a “sustained” drop in case numbers and the infection rate.

It will also take into account the pressure on local hospitals, the percentage of tests that are positive and the infection rate among over 60s.

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The latest figures show the seven-day infection rate (27.3 cases per 100,000) for people over 60 remains relatively low.

No serious concerns have been raised about capacity at local hospitals or the percentage of tests that are coming back positive in West Berkshire.

Mr Pearce said: “We’ve had a significant drop (in the positivity rate) and we’re now at 2.9 per cent which is really good.

“Anything below five per cent is really positive.”

His comments came at a meeting of West Berkshire Council’s Local Outbreak Control Board on December 7.