CORONAVIRUS cases are continuing to rise in Herefordshire, latest figures show.

In the seven days to Wednesday, December 15, a UK Government heatmap showed the areas in Herefordshire with the highest number of new Covid cases.

In 11 of the county's 23 areas, the number of cases has risen.

Current coronavirus hotspots in the county, those with the highest infection rates, include Credenhill, Weobley and Wellington; Hereford North East; Golden Valley; Lugwardine, Withington and Moreton-on-Lugg; and Wigmore, Orleton and Brimfield

The infection rate – the number of cases per 100,000 people – for those areas were all above the UK average of 480.4.

The map breaks Herefordshire down into 23 sections known as middle super output areas.

These are used to try and improve the reporting of small area statistics, with an average population of around 7,200 people in England and Wales.

In total, Herefordshire reported 747 cases in the seven days to December 15, giving it an infection rate of 385.8 cases per 100,000 people.

That was 75 fewer cases than the week before when the infection rate was 424.6. A fortnight ago it was 370.3.

In individual areas, cases rose by more than five in Hereford North West; Belmont, Madley and Clehonger; Bromyard and Bishop's Frome; Hereford Central; Golden Valley; and Lugwardine, Withington and Moreton-on-Lugg.

Seven–day rates are expressed per 100,000 population and are calculated by dividing the seven-day count by the area population and multiplying by 100,000. This helps when comparing rates across the county.

It comes as Rishi Sunak  offered a £1 billion support package to businesses hit by Covid restrictions amid concerns over the “eye-wateringly high” transmission of the Omicron variant.

The Chancellor has come forward with additional help for the hospitality and leisure sectors in England following days of urgent lobbying from MPs, firms and industry officials.

It includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the affected sectors in England, which the Treasury expects will be administered by local authorities and to be available in the coming weeks.

The Government also intends to use taxpayers’ cash to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 employees.

Cultural organisations in England can also access a further £30 million funding during the winter via the culture recovery fund, the Treasury said.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said Labour “will be going through the details” of the new measures, adding that the Government had been “dragged kicking and screaming” to announce them.

Mr Sunak’s announcement follows crisis talks with business leaders after he cut short a Government business trip to California.

Businesses have seen takings plummet due to Christmas festivities being scaled back amid fear over the spread of Omicron.