BOLTON is no longer one of the 100 areas in England with the highest coronavirus infection rates.

The borough, which topped the rate table back in September when more than 200 cases were seen for every 100,000 people, is now the 109th most infectious part of the country.

In the seven days to December 6, 477 new cases of covid-19 were confirmed – equivalent to a rate of 165.9.

The most infectious area, Kent's district of Swale, saw 938 new cases in that time – a rate of 625.

Bolton Council’s director of public health, Dr Helen Lowey, urged people to continue following the rules to protect their family and friends over the festive period.

She said: “We have seen an improvement in the local infection rate, but the rate of reduction is slowing down and we are certainly not out of the woods yet.

“Winter will be a really crucial phase in our response to the virus, so it is essential that everyone continues to follow social distancing rules, washing hands regularly and using face covering where needed.

“We should all try and keep our number of trips to a minimum and avoid crowded places wherever possible. We can protect our family and friends by keeping contact to a minimum over the festive period.”

Infection rates have fallen drastically across Greater Manchester, with Tameside and Trafford both dropping out of the top 200 most infectious areas.

Stockport, Salford, and Oldham have all reported lower infection rates than Bolton, at 121.3, 133.7, and 162 respectively.

Neighbouring Bury has the highest rates across the metropolitan borough at the moment, after 442 new cases saw the area record a rate of 231.4 – the 43rd highest in the country.

Bury is also the only area in the region that has seen infection rates increase from the previous week, with the seven days to November 29 showing a rate of 202.1.

Nationally, the infection rate stands at 157.8 cases per 100,000 people, with 105,395 new infections recorded during that time.